TechNet To Hill: Query FBI Nominee on Encryption

Says that is crucial given bureau's increasing interaction with tech community

TechNet wants Congress to grill President Donald Trump's new FBI director nominee on issues like privacy and encryption.

Trump signaled Wednesday (June 7) that he plans to nominate Christopher Wray, a partner at international law firm King & Spalding, as the new FBI director.

That announcement came only a day before his fired FBI director, James Comey, is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Some Democrats were seeing  the move as an attempt to distract attention from the run-up to Comey's testimony.

Reacting to the news, TechNet, representing technology company CEOs and other top execs, signaled that because of the increasing interaction of the FBI and the techindustry, Congress needed to get his input on those issues.

Comey and the tech industry crossed paths, and to some degree swords, over the issue of government access to encrypted information, notably in the case of an Apple iphone the FBI wanted to access in its investigation of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooting.

“With the nomination of Christopher Wray as director of the FBI, the responsibility now falls on the United States Senate to ensure the nominee will do everything in his power to protect the American people and uphold the rule of law,” said TechNet president Linda Moore. “Because of the FBI's increasing engagement with the technology industry, this confirmation process must explore Mr. Wray’s views on digital privacy rights, encryption technologies, and needed reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that account for modern advances in cloud computing..."

TechNet executive council members include Microsoft president Brad Smith and Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell.