Most people who follow the debate over unbreakable, end-to-end encryption think that it’s more or less over. Silicon Valley has been committed to offering such encryption since at least the Snowden revelations; the FBI has abandoned its legal campaign against Apple’s device encryption; and prominent national security figures, especially those tied to the National Security Agency,, have sided with industry and against the Justice Department.
Latest in Encryption
This morning, Attorney General William Barr gave a major speech on encryption policy—what is commonly known as "going dark." Speaking at Fordham University in New York, he admitted that adding backdoors decreases security but that it is worth it.
Attorney General William Barr gave a speech on encryption at the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University on July 23 that went over the usual law enforcement arguments for exceptional access.
Last fall, Lawfare published a piece by Ian Levy and Crispin Robinson of GCHQ entitled Principles for a More Informed Exceptional Access Debate.
Encryption and its effects on law enforcement’s access to data seem to occupy a perennial place in the headlines (and on Lawfare as well). The two of us have been working on it for years. The subject is often highly contested, but the fierce discussion has ignored some critical factors. One of those is how changing usage patterns and technologies will affect how law enforcement can—or can’t—obtain access.
The Massachusetts High Court Rules That State Can Compel Password Decryption in Commonwealth v. Jones
In Commonwealth v. Jones, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held, for the second time in five years, that the government may compel a defendant to unlock an electronic device under certain circumstances.
Last Tuesday, the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts announced charges against dozens of parents, college sports coaches and test-prep teachers with in a scheme to win admission to big name universities including Georgetown, Yale and Stanford. Of particular interest for this blog posting is the following excerpt from one of the charging documents.
On March 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a long-term road map to turn Facebook into a “privacy-focused communications platform.” His “principles” for this transformation include auto-deleting old user content and choosing “not to build data centers in countries that have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression,” even if that gets Facebook blocked from lucrative markets such as China or Russia.
The most recent purportedly serious proposal by a Western government to force technology companies to provide access to the content of encrypted communications comes from Ian Levy and Crispin Robinson of the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, the U.K.’s equivalent of the National Security Agency.