GOP Officials Demand Inquiry Into EPA's Use Of Encrypted Chat Apps
Feb 17, 2017 09:11 AM EST
Some GOP member are now demanding to conduct an inquiry into the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) use of encrypted messaging apps like Signal. This comes after President Donald Trump's administration has turned into encrypted texting and chat apps along with new email addresses and other defense strategies.
These latest moves along with the report from Politico have prompted Rep. Darin LaHood and Rep. Lamar Smith, two Republicans from Illinois and Texas respectively, to submit a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins Jr. The letter is asking the official to "determine whether it's appropriate to launch a full-scale review" on his group's usage of the encrypted apps. Smith currently heads the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology while Lahood is the vice chairman of the subcommittee on oversight on the Science, Space and Tech committee, as reported by CNET.
The letter continues on saying that they have seen several federal officials circumventing the requirements on Federal Records Act and its transparancy in the past few years. Meanwhile, the Republicans have stated that the committee is fretting over the encrypted practices and noted that they have run afoul of the federal record-storing requirements. Meanwhile, the letter has also stated that such act, if proven to be true, would leave information that could be responsive to the future Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) along with the other congressional requests to be unattainable.
Encryption has gained a lot notoriety in 2016 during Apple Inc's public battle with the FBI over a request to help unlock a secured iPhone that was used in a terrorist attack. The process has also gotten its way to presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton's team after the Democratic Party's emails were hacked. Her team has adopted the use of the Signal app, in which all calls and messages are end-to-end encrypted.
In response to the letter, Deputy Assistant Inspector General For Congressional And Public Affairs Jennifer Kaplan has e-mailed, "In response to your inquiry below, the EPA OIG takes all congressional requests seriously." The response has added that the Inspector General and his senior leadership team are currently reviewing the letter, Ars has shared.