Press Release


Committee Releases Encryption Report, “Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate”

Report Lays Foundation for a Robust National Dialogue

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have sparked a public debate on the use of encryption in our society because the attackers used encrypted communications to evade detection, a phenomenon known as “going dark.”

Today, the Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a new report entitled, “Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate.” This first Congressional in-depth analysis of the issue summarizes the Committee’s findings, based on more than 100 meetings and briefings Committee staff and Members have held with key stakeholders over the past year. In addition to providing insight into arguments on all sides of the encryption debate, the report lays the groundwork for a National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges proposed by Homeland Security Chairman Michel McCaul (R-TX) and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). The bipartisan Commission has broad support from former and current Administration officials, national security leaders, law enforcement, and the tech industry, and will help to forge a general concurrence of opinions, informed by a common understanding of the underlying facts. Ultimately this effort will provide a better understanding of digital security issues for Congress and the American public. The report released today will help inform and advance debate that centers around balancing personal cyber security and national security.

Chairman McCaul: “The encryption debate in America is a contentious one, with no immediate solution or clear path forward. Even in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in America and the west, encryption remains a major challenge to law enforcement and the intelligence community. A national Commission would bring key players and leading minds to the table to develop recommendations for maintaining privacy and digital security, while also finding ways to keep criminals and terrorists from exploiting these technologies to escape justice. Encryption is too central to our country’s future to answer without a robust dialogue with all the key stakeholders.”


*Fun Fact: The 0’s and 1’s on the cover of the report, “Going Dark, Going Forward: A Primer on the Encryption Debate,” are the binary representation of the Preamble to the United States Constitution.*