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Barr Revives Encryption Debate, Calling on Tech Firms to Allow for Law Enforcement The New York Ti

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Barr Revives Encryption Debate, Calling on Tech Firms to Allow for Law Enforcement The New York Ti The attorney general, reopening the conversation on security vs privacy, said that encryption and other measures effectively turned devices into law free zones

Attorney General William P Barr said on Tuesday that technology companies should stop using advanced encryption and other security measures that effectively turn devices into law free zones that keep out law enforcement officials conducting criminal investigations As we use encryption to improve cybersecurity, we must ensure that we retain societys ability to gain lawful access to data and communications when needed to respond to criminal activity, Mr Barr said in his keynote address at the International Conference on Cybersecurity at Fordham University Law School in Manhattan The Justice Department has long pushed technology companies to help the government gain access to information on electronic devices, a conflict that last peaked in 2016, when investigators obtained a court order that required Apple to help the F

BI unlock an iPhone recovered after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif, in December 2015 Tensions eased after the F

BI found a way to get into the phone without Apple, but the case reinvigorated the debate over tech freedom, security and encryption That conversation gained momentum again at the end of last year, when the Australian Parliament passed a controversial encryption bill that requires technology companies to provide law enforcement and security agencies with access to encrypted communications The remarks were Mr

Barrs first significant speech on going dark, law enforcements term for how encryption and other technology innovations have made it harder for investigators to carry out court approved wiretaps and search for information on electronic devices Mr Barr said that allowing lawful access to consumer devices should not be incompatible with a companys business model Our societal response to advances in technology that affect the balance between individual privacy and public safety always has been — and always should be — a two way street, Mr Barr said

While the attorney general did not mention Apple by name, the companys strong encryption has long been a selling point And several technology companies including Amazon, Facebook and Google signed a letter this month criticizing the new Australian law Mr Barr also said that companies that sell encryption with the goal of ensuring that law enforcement will not be able to gain lawful access are illegitimate Mr

Barrs position echoed that of former Justice Department officials, including James B Comey, the FBI director, and Rod J

Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who took the lead on the law enforcement side of what has been a long running tension with technology companies and champions of personal privacy Privacy advocates have long argued that law enforcement can get most of the information it seeks by subpoenaing technology companies for user records and other data, and that those companies do not need to create ways to break into their own encryption at the behest of the government The FBI

director, Christopher A Wray, and other officials have long argued that strong encryption was hindering crime solving, previously citing a total of 7,800 mobile devices that investigators were kept out of in the fiscal year that ended in September 2017, even though the bureau had the legal authority to gain access to them But last year, the FBI

acknowledged that it had the number of smartphones and other mobile devices it has been unable to open because of encryption, blaming a programming error Privacy advocates immediately attacked Mr Barrs speech Encryption reliably protects consumers sensitive data, said Brett Max Kaufman, a senior staff lawyer in the Center for Democracy at the American Civil Liberties Union There is no way to give the F

BI access to encrypted communications without giving the same access to every government on the planet Technology providers should continue to make their products as safe as possible and resist pressure from all governments to undermine the security of the tools they offer Mr

Barr is assuming that the negative impacts of encryption on law enforcement investigations far outweigh encryptions benefits for protecting individuals, business and the nation, said Riana Pfefferkorn, the associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society That assumption has never been borne out by evidence in the form of actual, accurate numbers about encryptions effect on law enforcements ability to solve crimes, Ms Pfefferkorn said But Mr Barr said that the current debate over encryption was no different from earlier debates over how to balance privacy when searching a persons home or car or other objects, which is governed by the Fourth Amendments constraints on unreasonable search and seizure

The Fourth Amendment strikes a balance between the individual citizens interest in conducting certain affairs in private and the general publics interest in subjecting possible criminal activity to investigation, Mr Barr said

Source: Youtube

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