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Is Making Encryption Illegal Wrong?

October 24, 2014 | By Editor 


  • Yes it is. Just because the FBI believes that putting encryption into the hands of government and law enforcement will prevent bad things from happening doesn’t mean hackers will keep quite.
  • Law breakers will continue hitting their goals, regardless of whether law makers and law enforcers stop them.


Encryption is not an Outlaw

  • For weeks, FBI Director James Comney’s ranting about the new data encryption technology by Apple has managed to garner only the criticisms of users and privacy advocates. Not to the Congress.
  • Comey points that the latest encryption will allow pedophiles, kidnappers, rogue agents, and terrorists roam unchecked. The assertion that law enforcement will have no advanced tools to catch criminal if the new encryption works as designed is acceptable. But if that is true, then what happened to the other advances in law enforcement technology? Have they suddenly trumped?
  • It is understandable that the FBI wants to protect its country and citizens but wanting to solely control data encryption seems a bit unfair. Law enforcement agencies have always been equipped with lawful tools needed to their jobs to the maximum. As respectful as U.S. citizens are for protecting them, they also expect the same from the FBI.
  • Clearly, a balance is required in this regard. Fast becoming an increasingly serious issue of public concern, the new data encryption is facing its share of heated debates and arguments.
  • Law enforcement always want the maximum, broad powers. And who is to blame them? That is how the system has worked all these years. It is like new IT system admins always wanting maximum powers.
  • But the United States, for that matter any country, works best when there is a power balance among the law makers (government) and law enforcement and judicial system.
  • To outlawing data encryption just because the government or the FBI cannot decrypt is totally wrong for many reasons.  Here are two.

User Privacy and Security

  • The human element is an important reason and factor why data encryption and SSL encryption is important.
  • It is funny to assume that law enforcement having a master key to stop bad guys and stop good guys from doing bad things.
  • And having security back doors is a terrible idea. Hackers are going to find and use them, anyway. Like with any population, law enforcement too is an assortment of good and bad. If you think that no officer will use the back door to find things about you, you may be wrong.
  • Law officers charged with keeping people safe can sometimes misbehave like any other company  employee. Even though they don’t have the news, small indiscretions do happen every day inside law enforcement that the general public are not privy to. Only when things blow out of proportion,  we get to see them in the headlines.
  • Take the example of former FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who worked against the United States by acting as a spy for the Soviet and Russian intelligence services for 22 years.
  • This clearly proves putting encryption of data into the hands of government employees will not prevent bad things from taking place.

United States Faces Competitive disadvantage

  • Arbitrary spying by NSA has created a competitive disadvantage for the United States.
  • Edward Snowden’s revelations that the government is spying on U.S. citizens and top businesses without due process has made some foreign businesses reluctant to locate in the country.
  • As a fact, security analysts predict that U.S. tech companies could be losing around $180 billion by 2016 due to international concerns about NSA and other intelligence agencies’ spying.
  • The only way for the United States to restore trust is for the legislation to protect and not remove.

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