RealNews

The Consequences of Criminalizing Crypto

The Justice Department’s plan to make routine encryption illegal in the hands of criminals will hurt law abiding citizens, and prove catastrophic for Internet security. There is nothing like the fear of weapons of mass destruction to bring out weary old legislative proposals. Earlier this month, it leaked out that the Justice Department was considering a broad expansion of its investigative authority, including the creation of new criminal offenses, ostensibly to assist in the fight against terrorism. Many of the proposals contained in the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, but would substantially increase penalties for such mundane offenses as wire fraud or claiming too many deductions on a federal tax return. One such proposal — which has been floated out many times before — is the idea of making a new crime out of using encryption in during the course of commission of a different and unrelated crime. The language would create a new offense which would punish anyone who “during the commission of a felony under Federal law, knowingly and willfully encrypts any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony.” It defines encryption as referring to “the scrambling (and descrambling) of wire communications, electronic communications, or electronically stored information, using mathematical formulas or algorithms in order to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, or authenticity of, and prevent unauthorized recipients from accessing or altering, such communications or information.” Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.