Justice Dept. lawyer says US needs to prevent better data, figures in encryption debate

Associated Press

A Justice Department lawyer says the federal government needs to do a better job showing why access to encrypted communications like that on smartphone is necessary in an investigation.

Federal law enforcement officials have repeatedly argued that during criminal investigations, they need to access encrypted data stored on smartphones. Technology companies have pushed back, saying strong encryption safeguards consumers' privacy.

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At a panel discussion Monday at Georgetown University's law school, Justice Department lawyer Kiran Raj said law enforcement routinely encounters important electronic evidence during investigations.

But he acknowledged that the government has not done a good job showing how access to information on a phone has been vital in cracking a case.