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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

Costello backs bipartisan commission to examine sophisticated digital-age security threats

February 29, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON -- A 16-member federal commission would grapple with how to prevent terrorists from using technology to secretly plot lethal attacks in the United States while preserving privacy rights under bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06).

Costello joined Chairman Michael McCaul of the House Homeland Security Committee on Monday in introducing the National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges legislation.

The legislation was unveiled amid a growing national debate over whether investigators should be permitted to unlock a smartphone used by radical terrorists who killed 14 people in December during a rampage in San Bernardino, California. The company that makes this smartphone has resisted a court order to give law enforcement and intelligence officials access to the terrorist's phone.

"A rational approach is urgently needed to strike a balance between promoting innovation and protecting all of us against radical terrorists and criminals determined to exploit every weakness to operate just out of reach of law enforcement and intelligence officials," Costello said. "By bringing together the brightest minds in digital technology, law enforcement, homeland security and civil liberties, this Commission has a real opportunity to promote strategies for confronting evolving threats to our safety, as well as safeguarding the liberties that set our country apart from the rest of the world."

In December 2015, Congressman Costello voted in support of a series of legislation to streamline and strengthen the Department of Homeland Security to better protect our nation from terrorist attacks. Congressman Costello also supported H.R. 3654: the Combat Terrorist Use of Social Media Act, which would require the Administration to report to Congress on U.S. strategy to neutralize our enemy’s online propaganda.

Specifically, the National Commission on Security and Technology Challenges bill would:

•Establish an independent commission to bring together leading experts to examine the intersection of technology and security, and determine the implications for national security, public safety, data security, privacy, innovation, and competitiveness in the global marketplace.
•Require the Commission to report to Congress with the issue of multiple security interests and the economic, commercial, and national security value of cryptography, digital security, and communications technology.
•Require the Commission to provide to Congress the role of cryptography, digital security, and communications technology in protecting our privacy and civil liberties.
•Require the Commission to report on the effects of the use of cryptography, other digital security, and communications technology has on law enforcement and counterterrorism and the costs of weakening cryptography, digital security, and communications technology standards.

For more information on the Commission, please visit