The terrorists who killed at least 129 people in Paris likely used encryption tools to plot their attacks without alerting government intelligence agencies, two key senators said Tuesday.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and ranking member Dianne Feinstein said they plan to consider proposals to ensure government intelligence agencies can access communications.
“It’s a wake-up call for America and for our global partners that we need to begin the debate on what we do on encrypted networks because it makes us blind to the communications and to the actions of potential adversaries,” Burr told reporters after leaving a classified briefing from U.S. intelligence officials.
But Burr acknowledged that he doesn’t know if the attackers relied on any particular application or service to encrypt their communications. “We think that [encryption is] a likely communications tool because we didn’t pick up any direct communication,” he explained.
Burr also emphasized that the committee is on an “exploratory route,” and it is too early to discuss any specifics about possible legislation. “We need to figure what can and should be done about [encryption]— if anything,” Feinstein agreed.