Over the next few days, President-Elect Trump's key cabinet nominees will be facing questions from members of the U.S. Senate and moving towards confirmation votes for their roles. These hearings offer the first real opportunity to pin incoming cabinet members down and to hear where they stand on important questions about your privacy and security.
Why it's important:
It's critical that we demonstrate strong public support for privacy and security and that we build accountability for any actions that may undermine the security of users online. What's more, by simply paying attention, we can create more space for leaders to step up and safeguard our digital privacy.
Here's a snapshot of the views of key players:
- Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for Attorney General, has argued that law enforcement investigations should be able to compel companies to defeat their own encryption — putting their users at risk. (1)
- Senator Dan Coats, the nominee for Director of National Intelligence, has previously supported a bill that would have forced companies to provide special access (in other words a backdoor) to encrypted data when compelled to do so by a court. (2)
- Representative Mike Pompeo, CIA Director nominee, has said that: "the use of strong encryption in personal communications may itself be a red flag" for law enforcement. (3)
- General John Kelly, nominee for Department of Homeland Security (whose department would play a leading role protecting the country from cyber threats) is not on the record about encryption and other crucial issues. We'd love to find out more about his approach to such crucial issues in his department.
What you can do:
With so many hearings happening at the same time on the same day, highlighting the stances of the nominees on privacy and encryption will be a challenge. But it can be done! Each hearing will be streamed live online and there will be a real-time conversation happening on Twitter using the hashtag #SenateHearings.
Join this conversation today — add your opinions, ask your questions, speak up about privacy and security to make sure this critical issue gets the attention it deserves.
For an easy start, feel free to retweet Mozilla now, or post a tweet directly from your account.
Thank you so much,
Vice President, Advocacy
P.S. Not on Twitter, but still want to do something? Call your Senators via the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Let them know that these issues are important to you, and that you'd like for them to stand up for privacy and strong encryption as the new administration begins.
1. Wired, November 18, 2016.
2. National Public Radio, April 14, 2016.
3. Motherboard.Vice.com, November 18, 2016.