DoJ and six US allies appeal for backdoors in encrypted services, again

midian182

Posts: 6,075   +50
Staff member
A hot potato: Allowing authorities to access encrypted information through backdoors has long been a contentious issue. The conversation will doubtlessly be under the spotlight again after the US Department of Justice, alongside officials from six other countries, issued a statement calling for tech firms to create backdoors so law enforcement can access data once a warrant has been obtained.

The statement has been signed by government representatives from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Japan.

"Particular implementations of encryption technology, however, pose significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children," it reads. "We urge the industry to address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content."

The lengthy notice calls out technology companies for their responsibilities to protect users, adding that end-to-end encryption directly impacts this and creates severe risks to public safety. It requests access to encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp and locally stored data.

The document continues: "While this statement focuses on the challenges posed by end-to-end encryption, that commitment applies across the range of encrypted services available, including device encryption, custom encrypted applications and encryption across integrated platforms,"

The encryption debate dominated headlines back in 2016 when Apple refused to help the FBI unlock an iPhone 5c belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook—one of the San Bernardino shooters. The agency eventually used a third-party, rumored to be Israeli mobile forensics firm Cellebrite, at the cost of almost $900,000.

Earlier this year, a group of three senators proposed a new bill called the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act that would give law enforcement the ability to ask for access to encrypted data on a device based on "probable cause that a crime has occurred, authorizing law enforcement to search and seize the data."

Encryption is a real hot button issue. The majority of people, especially more tech-savvy users, are a lot happier knowing their data is safe, private, and can't be accessed. Governments, on the other hand, would rather nothing were inaccessible, and often appeal for change under the slightly cynical guise of protecting children and preventing terrorism.

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Endymio

Posts: 626   +515
Given how our law enforcement agencies have abused their FISA court powers to secretly spy on political campaigns, not to mention their illegal collection of telephone metadata records, I don't believe granting them even more wide-reaching authority is a wise move.
 

franticfrosty

Posts: 63   +73
Where is my backdoor into my bank account and the tax system so I can "see" how much money I... really have... I mean.. I'm sure I had 9 figures at one point in my bank account and paid no taxes ;)
 
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tellmewhy

Posts: 31   +8
Encryption is like the clothing, it just covers your privates parts. Why are you supposed must be naked to everyone?

And as Kennedy had say to his famous last words “Encryption is irrelevant to crime against life”.

All citizens are equal under the law so the law can’t accept the encryption only for some of them.
 
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Impudicus

Posts: 228   +199
A back door is still a door... So who will open this door once there's a warrant? That sounds like a lot of courts will be opening these doors. Therefore more opportunity for the key to this door to leaked, or hacked. Then exploited and then closed. We also have had high ranking government officials share their gmail passwords when sent a phishing email, so there's also that.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
Given how our law enforcement agencies have abused their FISA court powers to secretly spy on political campaigns, not to mention their illegal collection of telephone metadata records, I don't believe granting them even more wide-reaching authority is a wise move.
IMO, there is no question that a back-door is a very bad idea since it opens the possibility for hacking by uninvited guests. But I don't see that sharing your own "loon alert" is a justification for not having a back door.
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,202   +3,400
"Particular implementations of encryption technology, however, pose significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children," it reads. "We urge the industry to address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content."

The only way an encryption back door would be acceptable is if it were illegal to request access to it secretly. The troubles started with secret laws and secret courts, as they usually do.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
They have yet to build a backdoor that was uncrackable ..... until that day emerges I'm completely against them. Law enforcement has plenty of tools .... find another way or find another career .....
 
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BadThad

Posts: 309   +233
I don't trust governments, their abuse of power has been in plain sight for decades. That said, I don't like giving terrorists and criminals an easy pass on their confiscated phones. The manufacturers need to provide a way for authorities to gain access through a proper procedure through the manufacturer but a backdoor is not one of them. It would certainly be hacked and abused at some point.....the criminals cannot resist.
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 211   +204
If these same governments weren't already abusing every power they already have, I'd agree with them. However, the unfortunate truth remains that this is not the case.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,633   +926
"And in other news, The King of England demands that George Washington create cypher masks and cypher sticks that will allow the British to read the correspondence of the Revolutionary Army. 'If they have nothing to hide, they have nothing to be concerned about' the king was quoted as saying"
 

jpuroila

Posts: 234   +127
The manufacturers need to provide a way for authorities to gain access through a proper procedure through the manufacturer but a backdoor is not one of them.
Anything that lets you break the encryption without having the proper keys IS a backdoor, by definition.
 

Axil00

Posts: 38   +45
Anything that lets you break the encryption without having the proper keys IS a backdoor, by definition.
Right and I don't think people realize what manufacturers are being asked to do. It's not that they have all these tools they are not giving to law enforcement. The government is asking them to purposely undermine their own encryption system. People need to understand that if say apple were to implement this every single person who owns an iPhone will have a dycryption scheme for all you data stored on the phone sitting around at apple HQ. They then have to share this information. All it takes is one human error and now all the security on your phone is useless