The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Silent Circle's Mike Janke on Encryption, Going Dark, and Corporate Responsibility

By Carrie Cordero
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 2:42 PM

Last week, Ben posted five hard questions to both government and industry regarding encryption and the "going dark" debate. For this week's Podcast, we posed these questions and more on the issues of technology, public policy and corporate responsibility to Mike Janke. He's the co-founder and current Chairman of Silent Circle, an international company that sells a platform of devices and services with privacy-by-design baked in. And, as both a former Navy SEAL and the CEO and founder of a private security company, Janke offers a unique perspective on the obligations of law enforcement and other officials to keep people safe, individuals' rights to privacy, and corporations' duties to protect intellectual property and customer data.

Some takeaways from the discussion: Law enforcement has a long way to go before it can convince sophisticated industry participants that the FBI and like government entities are not technically capable of accessing the communications or devices they need in a pinch. Janke also makes a compelling case for why companies should be wary of the cybersecurity risks posed by communications or storage services that can be decrypted. And yet, we identify what just might be a fault line between tech leaders' claims that end-to-end encryption is necessary to address the privacy concerns of everyday users, and the actual market for secure platforms---in Silent Circle's recent experience, at least. And we also leave open the door as to whether, in the encryption debate, there remains something of a policy "middle ground," for when innocent victims lie in harms way.