Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tech, libertarian groups press for strong encryption

Tech, libertarian groups up pressure on Obama on encryption | TheHill - Cory Bennett:

October 7, 2015 - ""In two separate letters, a major tech trade group and a libertarian-leaning coalition pressed President Obama to publicly support strong encryption, even if it locks out law enforcement officials.

"'As organizations committed to free markets and limited government, we urge your administration to take a clear stand in support of the individual’s right to protect his or her security and privacy with strong encryption technology,' said one letter, signed by groups like TechFreedom and the Niskanen Center.

"''Regardless of good intentions, any efforts to undermine the security and effectiveness of strong encryption are misguided, shortsighted, impractical and ultimately counterproductive,” said a second letter from Ed Black, CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which represents major tech players like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.

"The letters come a week after privacy advocates and digital rights groups officially petitioned the White House to take the same stance.

"The combination has created a unique and powerful coalition pressing the White House on encryption.

"The Obama administration has been considering possible proposals that would give law enforcement guaranteed access to encrypted communications. Silicon Valley, privacy advocates and technologists have pushed back against this, arguing any such access makes encryption vulnerable to hackers and cyber spies.... "Officials have countered that without access, investigators may not be able to get legitimate data on criminals and terrorists, even when armed with a warrant....

"In recent weeks, leaked memos have shown the White House is considering backpedaling from its desire for a technological solution that would let investigators bypass encryption.

"Privacy advocates have jumped on these signals, collecting signatures on a petition that would require the White House to publicly respond to a call for it to support full encryption.... As of Wednesday, the appeal had collected over 48,000 signatures in nine days."

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