Should the U.S. government force tech companies to put a backdoor into encrypted information on communications devices to allow them to easily decrypt an individual’s information? Google, Apple, leading cryptologists and others have sent a letter to President Obama addressing some voices in Washington who want to be able to easily access a citizen’s personal information.
Senior law enforcement officials warn about their inability to access data is a public threat as tech companies create more and more sophisticated encryption methods. Data is encrypted not to keep it hidden from the U.S. government (Although no doubt some of it is.), but to keep the data away from hackers or other businesses and governments. It can be argued that if a backdoor is built-in to encryption software, it defeats the purpose and those not meant to know how to access the backdoor are likely to look for and find a way in.
FBI Director James B. Comey said that while being passionate about privacy is something people should care about, he also said it’s important to care about protecting innocent people. One of the issues is that some people view the U.S. government as not being trustworthy in regards to data and information, and perceive the U.S. government itself a threat to innocent people.
Paul Rosenzweig is a former Bush Administer policy official at the Department of Homeland Security, and he doesn’t think it’s possible to build a U.S. only backdoor into encryption software, and that there are other options for law enforcement to use. Ronald L. Rivest, who put the R in the RSA encryption algorithm, also said that lowering the security standards would see that same exception being exploited by foreign governments.
Would the backdoor be put into every device? If so, then everyone who owns a communications device in the U.S. could be compromised, from an individual citizen to the president. Or would certain people be above the law, and have different encryption used? Would there be consequences for individuals found to use encryption methods unapproved by the U.S. government, if these laws were passed?
It is unlikely that Congress will pass laws that allow for a backdoor to be introduced into all encrypted devices. The amount of people, companies and governments this would give easier access to would be a security threat in itself. To stop threats, it’s not an idea to come up with a solution to create more threats.