A new report has been released by the US House Judiciary Committee’s Encryption Working Group, explaining how encryption backdoors are “against the national interest.” This statement will be music to the ears of technology and privacy advocates. The year 2016, has been riddled with governments looking to bypass or even break encryption.
Weakening Encryption is Never The Answer
Shortsightedness and lack of understanding are two driving factors behind the war against encryption. Governments and law enforcement agencies seem to think of encryption tools as implications that facilitate terrorism. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as technology has no bias, nor is it created to favor criminality over normal behavior or vice versa.
Proposing measures to weaken encryption would not be in the national interest, according to the report. This statement cannot be echoed loudly enough, as weakened encryption opens the floodgates for more cyber attacks, hacking, and privacy invasion. Those are the least things that our information-driven society needs right now. A lot of information is falling into the wrong hands every month, mostly due to weak encryption or other sub-par security measures.
One thing a lot of government officials and law enforcement agencies tend to forget is how encryption exists well beyond their jurisdictions. The vast majority of encryption tools are globally available and used by millions, if not billions of people. Should their security and privacy be sacrificed to make a few additional arrests every year? The answer to that question should be a solid, “no”.
One way to address these technological issues is by creating a collaboration between tech companies and law enforcement. Obtaining a subpoena to break iPhone encryption, for example, sets a very dangerous precedent. It also widens the chasm between law enforcement and tech companies, even though now is the time to work together on these matters.
Adopting encryption is not something that politicians can prevent by any means. Instead, it is due time to explore other options and strategies related to addressing crime. Before these technologies were so commonly embraced, law enforcement managed to track down criminals. Those old methods still work today, albeit they may require slightly more work and effort.
Weakening encryption is a means to an end, but it is not the only option worth exploring right now. Collaboration is the key to bringing criminals to justice; everyone in the world should not suffer because of a handful of bad actors. It is good to see the US House Judiciary Committee vote against backdoors, although it remains to be seen how the situation will evolve.
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