There’s a burning debate – bordering on a battle – between the U.S. government and technology companies over encryption.
The government asserts that encryption – when it is so strong that the police can not eavesdrop on communications in their efforts to catch and prosecute criminals – is a bad thing. Some government officials have even suggested that terrorists use encrypted communications to help carry out their acts of malice.
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris have amplified the government’s contention that strong encryption is putting our country (and our allies) at risk. This creates fear, uncertainty, and doubt for the American people – given that most of us do not understand the intricacies of encryption.
Tech companies are focused on building the strongest possible encryption and cybersecurity into their products — so strong that even they can not access data and communications on the computers, laptops, tablets, phones, and software they manufacture. In response to a cybercrime epidemic, tech companies are aiming for hacker-proof digital communications that enable businesses to conduct secure e-commerce, to protect consumers from identity theft, and to provide everyone with a safer smart phone experience.
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) calls itself the global voice of the tech sector. ITI members are the largest tech brands Appleincluding AAPL +1.68%, Dell , Facebook FB +0.93%, Google GOOGL +2.32%, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Twitter, and many others. The ITI has been a platform for tech companies to join together and uniformly speak to the issue of encryption.
The ITI released the following statement two days ago from President and CEO Dean Garfield, in response to calls from the government to weaken encryption:
“Encryption is a security tool we rely on everyday to stop criminals from draining our bank accounts, to shield our cars and airplanes from being taken over by malicious hacks, and to otherwise preserve our security and safety. We deeply appreciate law enforcement’s and the national security community’s work to protect us, but weakening encryption or creating backdoors to encrypted devices and data for use by the good guys would actually create vulnerabilities to be exploited by the bad guys, which would almost certainly cause serious physical and financial harm across our society and our economy. Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense.”
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