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Tag Archive: back doors

Cryptopanic and James Comey’s Xanatos Gambit

For the past year or so I’ve been part of a cybersecurity working group at Harvard’s Berkman Center that on Monday released its first public report, Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the “Going Dark” Debate. If you want the Readers’ Digest version, there’s a good writeup at The New York Times, but the upshot is that our group concluded that, quite apart from all the serious security and civil liberties concerns raised by crypto backdoor mandates, there’s just very little reason to think that law enforcement agencies will be “going dark” anytime soon without such mandated access.…   continue »

America’s Muddled Approach to Fighting ISIS

Last month, the Los Angeles Times ran a story that helped highlight one facet of the muddled thinking afflicting the US government’s campaign against ISIS: While the military wants to sabotage the group’s cyber propaganda and recruitment capabilities, FBI and intelligence officials argue doing so would close a critical window into its operations and ability to detect domestic terrorist plots.…   continue »

James Comey’s Default-Encryption Bogeyman

FBI Director James Comey recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that encryption routinely poses a problem for law enforcement. He stated that encryption has “moved from being available [only] to the sophisticated bad guy to being the default. So it’s now affecting every criminal investigation that folks engage in.”

This assertion may reflect a shift in the Director’s approach to trying to convince lawmakers to regulate the commercial availability of strong encryption.…   continue »

Cy Vance’s Proposal to Backdoor Encrypted Devices Is Riddled With Vulnerabilities

Less than a week after the attacks in Paris — while the public and policymakers were still reeling, and the investigation had barely gotten off the ground — Cy Vance, Manhattan’s District Attorney, released a policy paper calling for legislation requiring companies to provide the government with backdoor access to their smartphones and other mobile devices.…   continue »

Cross-Border Data Requests: A Response to Greg Nojeim

Editor’s note: This post also appears on Lawfare.

Last week on Lawfare, Greg Nojeim responded to — and raised a set of questions about — our proposed framework for dealing with cross-border requests for stored communications. In particular, he focuses on what he calls our efforts to eliminate the probable cause finding prior to the disclosure of stored communications content by US communications service providers.…   continue »

Cross-Border Data Requests: A Proposed Framework

Editor’s note: This post also appears on Lawfare.

We’ve both written and spoken extensively (for example, here, here, here, here, and here) about issues related to cross-border data requests. At this point, it seems that the contours of the problem are well established, and our goal here is to try and flesh out a principled framework for moving forward.…   continue »

It’s Time to End the “Debate” on Encryption Backdoors

Yesterday, on Lawfare, FBI Director James Comey laid out his concern that the growing adoption of strong encryption technologies will frustrate law enforcement’s ability to conduct investigations — what he calls the “Going Dark” problem. The gist of Comey’s position is this: He recognizes encryption is important to security and privacy, but believes we are fast approaching an age of “universal encryption” that is in tension with the government’s investigative needs.…   continue »

Transcript: FBI Director Says Authors of Encryption Letter Are Uninformed or Not Fair-Minded

Earlier today, FBI Director James Comey implied that a broad coalition of technology companies, trade associations, civil society groups, and security experts were either uninformed or were not “fair-minded” in a letter they sent to the President yesterday urging him to reject any legislative proposals that would undermine the adoption of strong encryption by US companies.…   continue »

Security “Front Doors” vs. “Back Doors”: A Distinction Without a Difference

Thursday, FBI Director James Comey delivered a talk at the Brookings Institution, titled “Going Dark: Are Technology, Privacy, and Public Safety on a Collision Course?” His thesis did not stray too far from his (and others’) recent calls for limitations on software from companies like Google and Apple that employs strong cryptography that even the companies themselves cannot break, even if law enforcement agencies produce a warrant for the encrypted data.…   continue »