Ohio Gov. John Kasich offered an unexpected reply to a question about encryption at Thursday night’s Republican debate.
Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly won praise for the way she framed her question about proposals to add “backdoors” to commercial encryption so that government investigators could access encrypted data. But Kasich’s reply puzzled observers as he appeared to brush off the issue entirely by saying that it wasn’t fit for public discussion.
“Megyn, it’s best not to talk anymore about backdoors in encryption,” Kasich said. “It will get solved, but it needs to be solved in the Situation Room of the White House with the technology folks.”
“It’s best [that]some of these things not be said,” Kasich added, before switching topics.
In the wake of multiple terrorist attacks in Western cities, some law enforcement and intelligence officials have pressed technology companies to add backdoors to encryption to solve a problem that FBI Director James Comey has called “going dark”—the notion that terrorists are using encrypted apps to hide their plotting. But security experts and privacy activists warn that backdoors in encryption expose Americans’ private data to hackers by giving malicious actors a new way into a secure system.