Venable partner Jamie Barnett and Managing Director of Cybersecurity Services Ari Schwartz were quoted in a February 19, 2016 Communications Daily article on the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). Next month, Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler will appear on Capitol Hill where lawmakers are expected to question him on statute’s place in requiring phone manufacturers to unlock devices at the request of law enforcement.
Wheeler will likely address the issue of encryption and its impact on CALEA "because this collision of the public's need for privacy and the public's need for security from terrorists and crime is a central question of this era," said Barnett. "The FCC's role in CALEA has always been adjudicatory and appellate in nature. There is a statutory and fairly cumbersome process for resolving disputes between carriers and law enforcement. But beyond the statutory role, the FCC is the nation's expert agency in communications, and is should be part of the dialogue and the solution."
"You have to separate out device encryption from communications encryption," added Schwartz. "They can't come at it through CALEA if they have the actual device." Since the current debate is more about device encryption, he said "CALEA is less at play," but that could change as year progresses.