AH Tech Talk: The FBI Thinks Crypto Technology Is Bad

Encryption is a powerful thing if executed correctly, it can keep personal data such as messages exchanged between to people extremely safe. Because of this valuable protection that encryption provides us, we should be asking for more of it included in more of our apps and services that we frequently use. The good news here is that a majority of people are asking for just that, but the bad news is that the FBI wants to do quite the opposite.

You see, the FBI argues that all encryption does is provide dangerous entities such as terrorists with a hiding place. Apps such as WhatsApp, for example have built-in end-to-end encryption so that not even the service itself can see what its users are sending each other. This is exactly the type of thing that the FBI wants to either put an end to or get a "back door" entrance to. A response to this can't be said better than how Apple's Tim Cook said it, "If you put a key under the mat for the cops, a burglar can find it, too." Essentially meaning that if you take a service that uses encryption and then add a back door to it for the FBI, any criminal can then search for and access that back door. You wouldn't take the time and money to put a state-of-the-art, expensive lock on your front door and then leave a key under your mat for the cops would you? The lock would become virtually pointless.

A couple of days ago at a Congressional hearing, the assistant director of counter-terrorism for the FBI is quoted as saying encryption offers terrorists "a free zone by which to recruit, radicalize, plot and plan." Reading everything stated above, would you agree with the FBI on this? Chances are that you answered no. It's comments such as this one from the FBI that really seem to tick off people like Tim Cook who is a very public supporter of strong encryption. The Apple CEO publically stated on Monday that the FBI's stance on encryption is "incredibly dangerous." He then went on to tell Business Insider that "We've been offering encryption tools in our products for years, and we're going to stay on that path. We think it's a critical feature for our customers who want to keep their data secure." Most other people in the tech industry share a similar view on encryption and fully support it. This should tell you something, the FBI simply does not know what they are talking about when it comes to encryption.

This is why the FBI should be listening to people like congressman Ted Lieu from California. Lieu recently told The Intercept that "the notion that encryption is somehow different than other forms of destroying and hiding things is simply not true" The congressman then goes on to argue against the FBI even further by pointing out that paper shredders 40 years ago could have been treated the same way as encryption is today. He also said that saying encryption is a sort of hiding place for criminals is just a bad argument and if people really want to hide and discuss things in secret they have physical hiding places such as their homes where the FBI can't monitor them. This sounds like a rather odd stance coming from a politician does it not? Well, he has a background in computer science so he actually understands encryption. It's great to see such powerful advocates of encryption in such high places. But, as unfortunate as it may be, the FBI will almost certainly continue to push for back doors to encrypted services for years to come. We just hope that nothing ever comes of it.


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Nick Terry

Writer
My Name is Nick and I have long been an Android and Google lover. My first smartphone was an iPhone 3GS but as soon as I was introduced to an Android phone I had to have one. From then on my love for Android grew and along the way I wrote for a couple of Android news websites but have finally landed here at Android Headlines.
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