October 9, 2015
After months of deliberation, the Obama administration has made a long-awaited decision on the thorny issue of how to deal with encrypted communications: It will not – for now – call for legislation requiring companies to decode messages for law enforcement.
Rather, the administration will continue trying to persuade companies that have moved to encrypt their customers’ data to create a way for the government to still peer into people’s data when needed for criminal or terrorism investigations.
“The administration has decided not to seek a legislative remedy now, but it makes sense to continue the conversations with industry,” FBI Director James Comey said at a Senate hearing Thursday of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The decision, which essentially maintains the status quo, underscores the bind the administration is in – between resolving competing pressures to help law enforcement and protecting consumer privacy.