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DOJ: Strong encryption that we don’t have access to is “unreasonable”

Posted on November 10th, 2017 at 9:29 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment

[Quote:]

The DOJ’s position runs counter to the consensus of information security experts, who say that it is impossible to build the strongest encryption system possible that would also allow the government access under certain conditions.

“Of course, criminals and terrorists have used, are using, and will use encryption to hide their planning from the authorities, just as they will use many aspects of society’s capabilities and infrastructure: cars, restaurants, telecommunications,” Bruce Schneier, a well-known cryptographer, wrote last year.

“In general, we recognize that such things can be used by both honest and dishonest people. Society thrives nonetheless because the honest so outnumber the dishonest. Compare this with the tactic of secretly poisoning all the food at a restaurant. Yes, we might get lucky and poison a terrorist before he strikes, but we’ll harm all the innocent customers in the process. Weakening encryption for everyone is harmful in exactly the same way.”

Rosenstein closed his interview by noting that he understands re-engineering encryption to accommodate government may make it weaker.

“And I think that’s a legitimate issue that we can debate—how much risk are we willing to take in return for the reward?” he said.

“My point is simply that I think somebody needs to consider what’s on the other side of the balance. There is a cost to having impregnable security, and we’ve talked about some of the aspects of that. The cost is that criminals are going to be able to get away with stuff, and that’s going to prevent us in law enforcement from holding them accountable.”

He talks about it as if the entire world would go back to encryption with a back-door if only the big tech companies caved to his begging. As if strong encryption would simply disappear overnight if somebody like Tim Cook said “Okay, the Rosenstein is right”. The strong encryption horse has left the barn long ago and is now living three zip codes away. The only people who would be stuck with weakened encryption are the average law abiding citizens.

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