Facebook and Google, as well as numerous other technology companies, have made it abundantly clear that they don’t support the government’s attempts to force companies to implement backdoors in their encryption. According to privacy bosses from both companies, putting government-accessible backdoors in encryption would not only have the risk of being exploited, it would make law enforcement less accountable for its actions. Not to mention the blatant user rights violations.
Privacy bosses at both Facebook and Google said Wednesday that U.S. government efforts to find ways to pierce encryption technology could undermine users’ rights and make law enforcement less accountable for its actions. Their comments came a day after the White House cybersecurity czar and the U.S. secretary for homeland security both said encryption was hobbling law enforcement and that the government needed ways around it (see “White House and Homeland Security Department Want a Way Around Encryption”). Those ambitions have already been roundly criticized by cryptography experts, on the basis that a mechanism designed to let in the U.S. government could be exploited by others. Keith Enright, Google’s chief privacy officer, told MIT Technology Review at the RSA security conference Wednesday that such tools could also undermine the accountability of law enforcement officials seeking access to private data.