Skip navigation

Today on the Diane Rhem’s show she hosted a discussion concerning the implications of smart phone encryption. Tech giants Apple and Google recently announced that operating systems for their newest phones will be encrypted with a complex code. The move would make photos, videos and personal contacts accessible only by the owner of the phone. Privacy advocates hailed the decision as a welcome response to what they say is massive data collection by intelligence agencies. But law enforcement officials warn smartphone encryption will hinder criminal investigations and jeopardize public safety. What was most interesting to me about this discussion is that each of the parties involved (see link for guests), all of whom had very different perspectives and backgrounds, agreed that a balance needed to be struck between personal privacy and liberty, national interests, and national security and law enforcement. The question remains is how do we define what that balance is and why is Congress so absent on the subject?