US government looking for international support against encryption - The UpStream

US government looking for international support against encryption

posted Saturday Nov 23, 2019 by Scott Ertz

US government looking for international support against encryption

The government has long had a complicated relationship with data security. On the one hand, Congress held hearings with top-level executives of Facebook, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, over the handling of user data, spurred on by the Cambridge Analytica issues. On the other, the Justice Department has campaigned against encryption, wanting a "backdoor" into encrypted data. The tech world has continued to fight against the idea of an easily broken encryption system because that undermines the entire concept of encryption.

This week, the government has begun trying to rally an international coalition against secure encryption. A draft resolution, written by members of the FBI, was presented at INTERPOL's child protection meeting in Lyon, France. The draft stated,

The current path towards default end-to-end encryption, with no provision for lawful access, does not allow for the protection of the world's children from sexual exploitation. Technology providers must act and design their services in a way that protects user privacy, on the one hand, while providing user safety, on the other hand. Failure to allow for Lawful Access on their platforms and products, provides a safe haven to offenders utilizing these to sexually exploit children, and inhibits our global law enforcement efforts to protect children.

While attendees of the meeting claimed that the resolution would be published shortly, INTERPOL representatives have stated in no uncertain terms that the draft would not be addressed. Part of the draft that likely raised concern was the massively false statement that "technologists agree" that backdoors are a good thing. The reality is that almost no one in the technology field believes that backdoors are a good idea and, instead, believe that it could be the end of security as we know it.

One of the most ardent and vocal defenders of encryption has been Apple. The company famously fought a court order demanding that they decrypt a device that law enforcement locked down due to carelessness and negligence. The company's argument has been the same as in all encryption arguments: once a hole exists, it will be exploited forever.

There is no way that the Justice Department stops fighting for their terrible idea, but hopefully, the rest of the world will continue to respond with the same indifference towards their outbursts.


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