All posts by Ryan Hagemann

Encryption showdown: Burr-Feinstein vs McCaul-Warner

The encryption battle line has been drawn.

On one side of the showdown we have a senator, who despite representing America’s tech heartland constituency, doesn’t understand rudimentary principles of technology. Joining her is another senator, who is in a hotly contested race, and since pushing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act last fall, has been consistently seeking issues he can co-opt to remain in the limelight during the re-election cycle.

On the other side, we have a bill supported by one of the few technology entrepreneurs in Congress and the House Homeland Security Chairman—both of whom have repeatedly expressed a clear interest in arriving at a rational compromise to this debate, while expressing intellectual humility with regards to Congress’s ability to effectively and competently address the encryption issue on its own.

Over the past few months, Chairman McCaul and Senator Warner have been open and frank about what their proposed legislation would involve: bringing together economists, cryptographers, law enforcement officials, privacy advocates, and the tech community to talk through the issue of encryption. No mandate to produce any particular legislative recommendation is included in the Commission’s charge, only empirically-driven reports. Any recommendations that would be offered would require a majority vote of the commissioners, approved of in a bipartisan fashion. Senators Burr and Feinstein, however, have taken a decidedly more cloistered approach to constructing their legislation.

Read the rest on The Hill, here.

4 Reasons to be Optimistic About Encryption’s Future

As the legal dispute between the FBI and Apple continues to dominate headlines, there’s a great deal that privacy advocates and consumers should be concerned about. What if the FBI gets it way? Does that set a terrible precedent that will trickle beyond cases involving terrorism? Is this the first step towards opening a backdoor into encryption? How will that decision impact the tech sector? The litany of questions goes on and on.

But rather than focusing on the potential worst-case scenarios, here are four reasons that, no matter the outcome of the legal battle being waged, we should be optimistic about the future of encryption.

Read the rest on The Huffington Post, here.

The Hyperloop cometh

If you’re a resident of California, a new mode of transportation could soon be changing the way you think about getting around. The hyperloop is a pneumatic tube system that transport passengers in pods at sonic speeds approaching 800 mph using magnetic levitation. Elon Musk, who originally proposed the hyperloop concept as a crowdfunding campaign in 2013, believes the design could potentially revolutionize transportation for the better. And it could be closer to reality than you think.

According to Bibop Gresta, COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the first full-scale and fully operational hyperloop track will begin moving people through its tubes by 2018. This initial scale will not be shuttling passengers between cities, however. It will be conducting initial operations within California’s Quay Valley, with expected expansions to follow. Unfortunately, as Gresta noted, while the first city-to-city hyperloop track could be possible inside of five years, it won’t be in the U.S. The reason? Regulatory hurdles.

Read the rest on CapX, here.