Department of Homeland Security opening Silicon Valley office

In what could be a move to patch things up after the NSA spying scandal, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is opening up an office in Silicon Valley
The satellite office “will serve as another point of contact with our friends here,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson in a speech at the RSA security conference in San Francisco.

“We want to strengthen our critical relationships in Silicon Valley and ensure that the government and the private sector benefit from each other’s research and development,” he said. And he put in a pitch for some of the valley’s “talented workforce” to come spend a couple years in Washington, D.C. in government jobs.

Johnson held out an olive branch to the tech industry while worrying about a move toward encrypting consumer data that he said makes it hard for law enforcement to catch the bad guys.

The conference, which has drawn more than 500 exhibitors to the city’s Moscone Center, is the biggest annual bash for corporate security gurus and cyber-security companies.

Johnson acknowledged that the relationship between the federal government and the valley’s tech companies has been a little rocky lately.

In the wake of revelations that the National Security Agency was riffling through emails and other consumer activity on the websites of valley-based social media and online companies, Facebook, Google and others are responding by encrypting consumer data.

Johnson tried to make a case for continuing law enforcement access to the data, and urged the tech industry to help find a compromise solution.

“The current course we are on, toward deeper and deeper encryption in response to the demands of the marketplace, is one that presents real challenges for those in law enforcement and national security,” he said.

“Let me be clear: I understand the importance of what encryption brings to privacy. But, imagine the problems if, well after the advent of the telephone, the warrant authority of the government to investigate crime had extended only to the U.S. mail,” he said.

He acknowledged that the solution “must take full account of the privacy rights and expectations of the American public, the state of the technology, and the cyber security of American businesses.”

 

Photo: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 

Share this Post



 
 
 
  • alrui

    Oh goody, more spying by our over lords!

 
 
css.php