Last week, a report published by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee has made it crystal clear that the US government considers encryption backdoors as a threat to its “national interests.”
The report, compiled by a special assembly of experts known as the Encryption Working Group, has been working on this topic for nearly a year, ever since the whole FBiOS scandal, when the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone.
During the legal battle that ensued following the FBI’s request, US officials floated the idea of creating backdoors in the encryption systems deployed by US technology companies, to which only law enforcement agencies would have access.
US lawmakers say “No” to encryption backdoors
Following numerous meetings that took place in the past year under the Encryption Working Group’s supervision, the report highlights a clear position on behalf of US lawmakers.
Encryption is inexorably tied to our national interests. It is a safeguard for our personal secrets and economic prosperity. It helps to prevent crime and protect national security. The widespread use of encryption technologies also complicates the missions of the law enforcement and intelligence communities.
As described in this report, those complications cannot be ignored. This is the reality of modern society. We must strive to find common ground in our collective responsibility: to prevent crime, protect national security, and provide the best possible conditions for peace and prosperity.
That is why this can no longer be an isolated or binary debate. There is no ‘us versus them,’ or ‘pro-encryption versus law enforcement.’ This conversation implicates everyone and everything that depends on connected technologies—including our law enforcement and intelligence communities.
The report also goes to conclude that weakening encryption causes damage than good and that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution for supporting an encryption backdoor, mainly due to the varied technologies that make encryption tick and the numerous stakeholders and third parties that rely on its integrity.