When does ‘responsible encryption’ equal surveillance?
“The Trump administration and the Department of Justice’s want to modernize surveillance and computer crime laws as a way to boost cybersecurity, but researchers and privacy experts are skeptical of the federal government’s motives and warn that digital security may be an excuse to install backdoors in encrypted phones. Some Justice Department officials and lawmakers have proposed allowing authorities to have access over encrypted data, but technology manufacturers, namely Apple, have refused to participate. ‘There is nothing virtuous about refusing to help develop responsible encryption’ or contributing to a system ‘where people are free to victimize others without fear of getting caught or punished,’ Deputy Assistant Attorney General said. In its recently unveiled cybersecurity strategy, the White House pledged to work with Congress to ‘modernize electronic surveillance and computer crime laws,’ in order to deter criminal networks and impose consequences on cyber actors. But privacy advocates and surveillance experts argue that the Justice Department and the Trump administration’s statements are efforts to undermine encryption in the name of cybersecurity.”