After terrorist attacks, the debate over encryption gets new life

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After terrorist attacks, the debate over encryption gets new life.

If you hated the the 2014 Braves, you might love the 2014 World Series. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and California, there is growing sentiment among security hawks on Capitol Hill for legislation to ensure that law enforcement has access to encrypted communications.

FBI Director James Comey deflected questions Wednesday about the agency’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email setup while she was secretary of state and insisted, “we don’t give a rip about politics” in conducting the investigation. The Braves drove us to distraction and brought “termination” to Frank Wren, the general manager who built them, by swinging big, missing big and spitting the bit in September. The Iowa Republican repeated the argument that the decision about whether Clinton broke any laws by using the private setup for official business will be made by a fellow Democrat in the Justice Department. “No matter what the FBI finds, a political appointee of the Justice Department will ultimately make the decision of whether or not to prosecute,” he said.

In a hearing about the San Bernardino massacre, Comey said keys to encrypted devices should be held by device manufacturers “so that they could comply with judicial orders”. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) became the latest senior lawmaker to call for such legislation. “If there is a conspiracy going on” among terrorist suspects using encrypted devices, “that encryption ought to be able to be pierced,” said Feinstein, vice-chairman of the intelligence committee. And it’s troubled me, and I know others, when some people have attempted to disparage or otherwise predict the outcome of the ongoing FBI investigation.” (RELATED: FBI Director Admits — ‘Encryption Is Getting In The Way’ Of Monitoring Terrorists) “I know the president himself said that we don’t get an impression that there was purposefully efforts to hide something or to squirrel away information,” Cornyn explained. “Does the President get briefings on ongoing investigations by the FBI like this?” In an interview on “60 Minutes” in October, Obama suggested, “I don’t think it posed a national security problem.” (RELATED: Obama Says Hillary’s Email Use Was A ‘Mistake’) Comey argued the growing popularity of encryption was making law enforcement increasingly difficult and offered as evidence 109 encrypted messages between a known terrorist overseas and one of the killers in the Garland, Texas shooting in May.

I very much would like to see that.” Earlier in the hearing, Feinstein explained, “I’m very concerned about it [the ability to unencrypt communications] because when I met with high-tech, what they told me was there are parts now when you talked to us about the dark web … that they cannot unencrypt.” “I have real concern about that,” Feinstein argued. “I have concern about a Playstation, which my grandchildren might use and a predator getting on the other end talking to go them, and it’s all encrypted. He said the move to encryption that firms cannot unlock, even if served with a warrant, was primarily a “business” decision, and was not driven by a desire to improve device security. “I actually think it’s not a technical issue,” said Comey. “There are plenty of companies today that provide secure services to their customers and still comply with court orders. The FBI could not read them, he said, because they were encrypted. “That is a big problem,” he said. “We have to grapple with it.” But some tech firms note that they have been moving toward strong encryption for several years.

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