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16.05.2018 - 10:43 [ Techdirt ]

Bill Introduced To Prevent Government Agencies From Demanding Encryption Backdoors

The FBI continues its push for a solution to its „going dark“ problem. Joined by the DOJ, agency head Christopher Wray has suggested the only way forward is a legislative or judicial fix, gesturing vaguely to the thousands of locked phones the FBI has gathered. It’s a disingenuous push, considering the tools available to the agency to crack locked devices and obtain the apparently juicy evidence hidden inside.

The FBI hasn’t been honest in its efforts or its portrayal of the problem. Questions put to the FBI about its internal efforts to crack locked devices are still unanswered. The only „new“ development isn’t all that new: Ray Ozzie’s „key escrow“ proposal may tweak a few details but it’s not that far removed in intent from the Clipper Chip that kicked off the first Crypto War. It’s nothing more than another way to make device security worse, with the only beneficiary being the government.

The FBI’s disingenuousness has not gone unnoticed. Efforts have been made over the last half-decade to push legislators towards mandating government access, but no one has been willing to give the FBI what it wants if it means making encryption less useful. A new bill [PDF], introduced by Zoe Lofgren, Thomas Massie, Ted Poe, Jerry Nadler, Ted Lieu, and Matt Gaetz would codify this resistance to government-mandated backdoors.