Do you have a secret that no one else knows? What about Apple, Google, Facebook, Verizon, or Uber? Are you sure they don’t know your secret? Digital data – emails, text messages, phone records, location records, web searches – contain traces of almost every secret. They also contain traces of almost every crime. Tech companies may promise to protect our data from prying eyes. But should that promise yield to law enforcement and national security?
Presented in partnership with
For the motion
Attorney & Fmr. Assistant Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security
Stewart Baker is a partner in the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C. His law practice covers cybersecurity, data protection, homeland... Read More
Law Professor, Berkeley & Fmr. Attorney, Justice Department
John Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute... Read More
Against the motion
Acting Dir., Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic & Prof., Berkeley Law
Catherine Crump is an assistant clinical professor of law at Berkeley Law School and acting director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy... Read More
Executive Chairman, The Chertoff Group & Fmr. Secretary of Homeland Security
Michael Chertoff is co-founder and executive chairman of The Chertoff Group, where he provides high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government... Read More
Where Do You Stand?
For The Motion
There is a perception that government has the ability to sweep up all of our digital information—but meaningful details gleaned from metadata is limited, and not all data is backed up to the cloud. Access to devices yields information that cannot be obtained otherwise.
The 4th Amendment authorizes searches when law enforcement is granted search warrants approved by a judge. With ever-evolving technology, law enforcement is simply seeking the communications it is already authorized to intercept, and end-to-end encryption would subvert this constitutional provision.
We need both privacy and security, but in this “Golden Age of Surveillance,” where nearly all of our communications and movements are tracked by some piece of technology, we need to do more to protect consumers’ privacy.
The government is relying on an overbroad interpretation of the All Writs Act that is in violation of the 4th Amendment. Requiring companies to comply with demands to hand over data and build backdoors today will set up a dangerous precedent.
Law enforcement’s demands for access to customer data on devices like the Amazon Echo, or iPhone, are in violation of the 1st Amendment and the right to free expression.
Our greatest security threats will come from hackers and rogue nations that use cyberattacks and economic espionage to hurt us. In the end, creating “back doors” and compromising encryption only makes us more vulnerable.
There are many ways for bad actors to hide their actions from government. The use of encrypted apps would render an unlocked phone useless.