US joins six countries in new call for backdoor encryption access

On Monday, the US Department of Justice signed on to a new worldwide assertion warning of the risks of encryption and calling for an industry-wide effort to allow legislation enforcement companies to access encrypted knowledge as soon as a warrant has been obtained. The US was joined in the trouble by officers representing the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan.

The assertion begins by acknowledging the worth of encryption in defending free expression internationally, citing a 2017 report from the UN Human Rights Commission. But the assertion shortly pivots to the ostensible issues posed by the expertise.

“Particular implementations of encryption technology, however, pose significant challenges to public safety,” the assertion reads. “We urge the industry to address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content.”

The Justice Department has an extended historical past of anti-encryption advocacy. In 2018, 5 of the seven collaborating countries expressed comparable misgivings in an open memo to tech firms, though the memo resulted in little to no progress on the difficulty from the {industry}. At every flip, tech firms have insisted that any backdoor constructed for legislation enforcement would inevitably be focused by criminals, and in the end go away customers much less secure.

Crucially, the seven countries wouldn’t solely search to acces encrypted knowledge in transit — such because the end-to-end encryption utilized by WhatsApp — but additionally regionally saved knowledge just like the contents of a telephone. That native encryption was on the heart of the 2016 San Bernardino encryption combat, which noticed the FBI taking Apple to court docket in an effort to access the contents of a telephone linked to a office taking pictures.

“While this statement focuses on the challenges posed by end-to-end encryption, that commitment applies across the range of encrypted services available, including device encryption, custom encrypted applications and encryption across integrated platforms,” the doc continues. “We challenge the assertion that public safety cannot be protected without compromising privacy or cybersecurity.”

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