Why legal barriers to encryption technology won't catch terrorists

Washington PostEven if the U.S. government prevails in its quest to compel Apple and other U.S. companies to give the authorities access to encrypted devices or messaging services when they have a warrant, such technology would still be widely available to terrorists and criminals, security analysts say.

That's because so many encrypted products are made by developers working in foreign countries or as part of open source projects, putting them outside the federal government's reach. For example, instant messaging service Telegram — which offers users encrypted "secret chats" — is headquartered in Germany while encrypted voice call and text-messaging service Silent Phone is based out of Switzerland. And Signal, a popular app for encrypted voice calls and text messaging, is open source.

The technology is available and out there. It cannot be suppressed, nor does government have any right to suppress it. People have the right to privacy in their own papers and communications; to the extent that government wishes to invade that privacy, it needs a warrant based upon probable cause, and no one else is obligated to help. Particularly not the person who is being investigated, who is protected by the 5th Amendment from being required to incriminate himself.

If the government is unable to open the safe or break the technical means used to protect information, that's their problem.

Trying to change that by writing requirements to violate the privacy of device owners and customers into the law will just cause manufacturers of secure devices and customers for those products to obtain them from nations that respect their privacy.

This entry was published Wed Mar 23 10:19:16 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2016-03-23 10:19:16.0. [Tweet]

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