Terrorism Investigations

President Obama Comments on Back-doors in Encryption

By Cody M. Poplin
Friday, January 16, 2015, 5:50 PM

We've yet to find a transcript of President Obama's remarks during today's press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, but according to several news outlets, the President made a number of interesting statements regarding cybersecurity and data encryption.

"If we get into a situation which the technologies do not allow us at all to track somebody we're confident is a terrorist . . . and despite knowing that information, despite having a phone number or a social-media address or email address, that we can't penetrate that, that's a problem," President Obama said. However, he continued by noting the difficult and sometime tenuous balance between security, liberty, and privacy, saying that debate from civil libertarians and privacy groups has been "useful." The comment, along with several others, came at the end of the briefing, which you can watch in full below.

Major Garrett asks the question (in a three part whopper including potential war with Iran) at roughly 37:00 minute mark. Obama begins to speak on cybersecurity at 45:30 and finishes at 48:45. He then touches on the subject again at 56:55. Prime Minister David Cameron addresses encryption and cybersecurity from 52:35 until 54:00.