Access Now’s Amie Stepanovich just delivered this useful overview of the important issues around the latest moves in The Crypto Wars.
And this article, by Mark Wilson at betanews.com re President Obama effectively backing backdoors, is instructive (if a disappointment).
“If technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key, there’s no door at all, then how do we apprehend the child pornographer, how do we solve or disrupt a terrorist plot?” he wondered aloud, his almost rhetorical question playing neatly on two of America’s biggest fears. He suggested that security keys should be made available to third parties, saying “you cannot take an absolutist view” when it comes to balancing security and privacy. But Obama has a solution: backdoors.
Obama avoided talking directly about the Apple/FBI case, but it hung heavy in the air nonetheless. So what is his solution to the issue of encryption standing in the way of government being able to access whatever it wants? The out-going president’s answer to the problem is far from fleshed out, and far from being a solution that anyone in their right mind would find agreeable. Addressing the SXSW audience, he said:
What mechanisms do we have available to even do simple things like tax enforcement because if in fact you can’t crack that at all, government can’t get in, then everybody is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.
While Obama says that he backs the notion of strong systems of encryption, he said that for issues that were agreed to be important (by whom he did not make clear) it should be possible for the security key to be made available to “smallest number of people possible”. A backdoor by any other name.
There has to be some concession to the need to be able to get to that information somehow.
Dress it up any way you like, but Obama is suggesting that backdoors should be implemented.