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A Positive Step in the Encryption Debate

The members of the House Encryption Working Group took on a seemingly impossible task this year when they set out to bridge the gap between the two sides of this noisy and difficult debate. That makes the result of their work – a series of balanced findings that summarizes their careful consideration of these issues – that much more important.

All sides should thank them for it, and we should pledge to work together toward responsible solutions in the next Congress.

As the Working Group notes, encryption plays a crucial role in securing the data of all Americans in our increasingly digital lives. Legislative mandates that undermine the technology would only serve to make everyone less secure. At the same time, the report recognizes – and BSA strongly supports – the important work of law enforcement in protecting our safety and pursuing criminals. To help investigators and prosecutors do their jobs, it will be important to examine new efforts at cooperation between law enforcement and the technology community and to consider new investigative tools and techniques.

The Working Group’s report is the culmination of months’ worth of work by a bipartisan group from the Energy and Commerce Judiciary committees. BSA appreciates their efforts, and we urge Congress to build on the Working Group’s thoughtful report by engaging in a broad dialogue that continues to examine all facets of the encryption debate.

We shouldn’t understate the difficult path that lies ahead. Addressing these concerns while maintaining the greatest possible security will not be an easy task. But with all sides working together, we can develop policies that ensure users the strongest possible digital security and provide law enforcement with the tools they need to keep us safe. BSA looks forward to working with Congress to finding workable solutions that protect security for everyone.

Aaron Cooper

Author:

Aaron Cooper serves as Vice President, Global Policy with BSA | The Software Alliance. In this role, Cooper leads BSA’s global policy team and contributes to the advancement of BSA members’ policy priorities: data privacy and security, intellectual property, and trade. Cooper joined BSA in February 2016 as Vice President, Strategic Policy Initiatives.

Prior to joining BSA, Cooper served as the Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property and Antitrust Law for Chairman Patrick Leahy on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Most recently, Cooper was of counsel at Covington and Burling, where he provided strategic counseling and policy advice on a range of intellectual property, communications, and privacy issues. Cooper has also served as Legal Counsel to Senator Paul Sarbanes.

Cooper is a graduate of Princeton University and Vanderbilt Law School. He clerked for Judge Gerald Tjoflat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

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