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The encryption battle between the government and Apple is still not over as Congress held a hearing on the matter Tuesday with the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell testified during the hearing, claiming that “100 percent of our users would be made more vulnerable if we were forced to build a back door” on their products, which would allow government access at all times. The hearing, surprisingly enough, went well according to Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Andy Halataei and that “a serious discussion is emerging between lawmakers and tech on encryption.” He further emphasized how unusual this traditionally is for Congressional hearings, and that typically “people go into their separate corners and repeat ‘us versus them’ positions,” but that instead, the dialogue focuses primarily on members of Congress asking important questions to better understand the matter at hand.

The Justice Department continues to raise concerns that a terrorist could escape detection by “going dark” (turning their phone off) and that the purpose of new legislation would be an effort to “obtain electronic information and evidence pursuant to the legal authority that Congress provided to us to keep America safe.” RSA President Amit Yoran, however, stressed to the contrary that providing easier access to the “incredibly insightful digital breadcrumb trail” is available through access of mobile phones. While it is clear this debate is far from over, it is certainly nice to hear that progress is being made.

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