Paris attack stokes the flames in fight over US data encryption

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2015
Last week's terrorist attack on Paris sounded a call to arms for hawkish U.S. officials seeking broad oversight of encrypted digital communications, some of whom used the opportunity to rekindle discussions with Silicon Valley technology companies.




In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Silicon Valley companies, particularly those marketing secure Internet messaging services, should help government agencies protect the homeland by allowing controlled access to encrypted data.

"They have apps to communicate on that cannot be pierced even with a court order, so they have a kind of secret way of being able to conduct operations and operational planning," Feinstein said of ISIS terrorists. She hammered the point home, reminding MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell of recent video footage showing ISIS leaders giving potential sleeper cells the go ahead to carry out attacks on U.S. soil.

Last month the Senate passed the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that effectively allows companies to legally share customer data with the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies. Feinstein is a co-sponsor of the bill.

As iOS and Android dominate modern mobile communications, Apple and Google have been singled out as part of the problem for providing end-to-end encryption messaging services. For example, strong encryption in iOS 8 and above makes it virtually impossible to eavesdrop on iMessage conversations or gain physical device access, even with appropriate warrants.

"I have actually gone to Silicon Valley, I have met with the chief counsels of most of the big companies, I have asked for help and I haven't gotten any help," Feinstein said. "I think Silicon Valley has to take a look at their products, because if you create a product that allows evil monsters to communicate in this way, to behead children, to strike innocents, whether it's at a game in a stadium, in a small restaurant in Paris, take down an airliner, that's a big problem."

Bloomberg reports other top-ranking U.S. officials, including CIA Director John Brennan, made similar comments, but fell short of asking that new laws be enacted.

"There are a lot of technological capabilities that are available right now that make it exceptionally difficult -- both technically as well as legally -- for intelligence security services to have insight that they need," Brennan said today at an event in Washington, D.C.

For its part, Apple has been a vocal advocate of consumer privacy and pushed back against CISA alongside other tech companies in October. CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly warned of the detrimental effects a back door policy would have not only on individual users, but the tech industry as a whole.

Critics to Apple's position argue CISA lets providers share data while still maintaining privacy, a proverbial win-win situation for everyone involved. Americans could find themselves putting to those claims to the test sooner rather than later, as the bill is headed to the House of Representatives and, if passed, to President Obama for ratification.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 155
    When the US citizens lose their freedoms and privacy out of fear of terrorists, that's when the terrorists win.
  • Reply 2 of 155
    Just wait until war profiteer and hawk Feinstein has her personal information hacked and posted on the web. You know it's coming.

    "Trust no one" is best applied to those hiding behind the ruse of public safety being more important than liberty.
  • Reply 3 of 155



    These idiot lawmakers just want to wiretap everyone. Do they really think we are all stupid enough to believe the terrorists will keep using iMessage after the US makes it mandatory by law to have a backdoor? No they will use other end-to-end encrypted technology and software freely available on the internet and the rest of the population will be open to NSA snooping into our lives. The arguments these lawmakers are completely flawed and make absolutely no sense. Don't believe the lies from these fear-mongerers.

  • Reply 4 of 155
    No better example of [I][URL=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_fear]argumentum in terrorem[/URL][/I].

    Recent tragic events didn't make their arguments for encryption back doors any more valid or sound. It's just the equivalent of them asking, "so are you scared enough yet to give us what we want?"
  • Reply 5 of 155
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    If the world wasn't so damn PC and we could do proper profiling this wouldn't be an issue.
  • Reply 6 of 155

    Paris attack stokes the flames in fight over US data encryption 


     

    There’s no fight. No legal one, at any rate. Right to privacy trumps “right” to totalitarianism.

  • Reply 7 of 155
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,863member

    Blah, blah, blah. A lot of people want real gun control yet the government does nothing. Lots of innocent people have died in schools, malls, just about everywhere because of guns but all they can talk about is a way to spy on everyone in an attempt to locate these people before they do something. Hey, you know what? It isn't going to work. "Bad" people will always find a way to talk to each other without someone listening and honest people will always have to pay the price of losing our privacy because of the inability of governments to treat people nicely and get rid of an environment where there is hate. It's not Apple's fault for doing their best to protect people's privacy.

  • Reply 8 of 155
    And they wanna do the same with gun control. The police let one of the terrorists go! They were told of an impending attack. They and others knew a serious event would take place. They didn't need back doors to our phones to know that. They let a key fugitive get away. They didn't need a back door to our phones for that.

    Haven't we learned from facts and those in the know. Government does not need more control over our lives.
  • Reply 9 of 155
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,947member
    No better example of argumentum in terrorem.

    Recent tragic events didn't make their arguments for encryption back doors any more valid or sound. It's just the equivalent of them asking, "so are you scared enough yet to give us what we want?"

    How many more 'argumentums' do you have up your sleeve? :lol:
  • Reply 10 of 155
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,770member
    Apple, Google, Facebook and MSFT and other tech firms need to use their seemingly unlimited funds to further the campaigns of those politicians who want to protect user data from government overreach. I don't know why people think back doors to private information will stop terror attacks. It just means the general populace has less freedom and the terrorists have accomplished their mission....proving yet again the US is a fraud.
  • Reply 11 of 155
    The usual round of suspects wanting to install probes up our ***** (I put in the asterisks myself, before AI did it for me) are at it again.
  • Reply 12 of 155
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,578member
    As tragic as this event is, in 2013 alone over 11,000 people were murdered by guns in the US, and over 80,000 injured. Yet we vehemently defend our right to own guns. And these clowns think we should give up our right to privacy? If you want to prevent mass murder in the US, which happens every year, there is s better way to start than taking away our right to privacy, and our right to online security.
  • Reply 13 of 155
    rob53 wrote: »
    It's not Apple's fault for doing their best to protect people's privacy.

    Exactly. The privacy that is being protected does not just involve normal email, text, photo and video communications, but also people' financial, tax, employment and health data.

    Moreover, it's naive to believe that some smart kid somewhere couldn't create yet another app to encrypt communications amongst the bad guys.
  • Reply 14 of 155
    freerange wrote: »
    As tragic as this event is, in 2013 alone over 11,000 people were murdered by guns in the US, and over 80,000 injured. Yet we vehemently defend our right to own guns. And these clowns think we should give up our right to privacy? If you want to prevent mass murder in the US, which happens every year, there is s better way to start than taking away our right to privacy, and our right to online security.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." —Benjamin Franklin
  • Reply 15 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

     



    These idiot lawmakers just want to wiretap everyone. Do they really think we are all stupid enough to believe the terrorists will keep using iMessage after the US makes it mandatory by law to have a backdoor? No they will use other end-to-end encrypted technology and software freely available on the internet and the rest of the population will be open to NSA snooping into our lives. The arguments these lawmakers are completely flawed and make absolutely no sense. Don't believe the lies from these fear-mongerers.




    It's hard to believe they don't realize weakening security on devices only impacts people who are not doing anything wrong - as you said, the ones who want to hide what they are doing will seek other ways.

     

    The only two things I can think of why they're pushing for this so they have a built in excuse if something happens, or giving the impression they are "doing something".

    It's difficult to believe they don't know it will make everyone, but the "intended targets", more vulnerable.

  • Reply 16 of 155
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post



    As tragic as this event is, in 2013 alone over 11,000 people were murdered by guns in the US, and over 80,000 injured. Yet we vehemently defend our right to own guns. And these clowns think we should give up our right to privacy? If you want to prevent mass murder in the US, which happens every year, there is s better way to start than taking away our right to privacy, and our right to online security.



    I don't think inanimate objects murder people. And given the article topic, guns are largely banned in France; how'd that turn out?

  • Reply 17 of 155

    Jeeze, sounds like a tea-bagger convention in here.

  • Reply 18 of 155

    There are NRA members in France.  They would sell guns to Heydrich.

  • Reply 19 of 155

    I don't think inanimate objects murder people. And given the article topic, guns are largely banned in France; how'd that turn out?

    No access does. Let's see, we have 10,000 gun deaths a year. They would need several attacks a week to catch up to us.
    We have our own terrorist who go into theaters and kill for the fun of it with cops on site.
  • Reply 20 of 155

    Meanwhile, laws protecting privacy are like laws protecting free speech.  They aren't tested by Republican wimps reciting nursery rhymes.

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