26 April 2015

White House and US Intelligence Community Expanding Their Campaign for Access to Encrypted Communications Traffic

Tom Simonite
April 22, 2015

The White House and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials support arguments by the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence leaders that encryption technology should be restricted or modified to make it easier for the government to access private data.

Speaking at the world’s largest computer security event, the RSA conference, Jeh Johnson—the U.S. secretary for Homeland Security—said that strong encryption was hampering law enforcement and that workarounds were needed. At the same event, President Obama’s cybersecurity coӧrdinator said that the White House was looking into what methods could be required in encryption technology to give law enforcement and other agencies a way in.

The remarks come after FBI director James Comey called last year for unlocking mechanisms for systems like those that automatically encrypt data on Apple smartphones. Just last week, National Security Agency head Michael Rogers sketched out a system where companies would have to hand over encryption keys to his agency and others in government.

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