Gov-Tech Encryption Battle Wages On

The winter freeze might sure be slowing down the country but not the encryption debate. It is, in fact, now heating up following Senator Ron Wyden’s Medium post on data encryption.

In the post, Wyden argues that allowing backdoor entry for the U.S. government into data encryption systems would indeed make things worse for millions of Americans as they would be more vulnerable to international hackers who could gain access to their personal information.

“Some are calling for the United States to weaken Americans’ cybersecurity by undermining strong encryption with backdoors for the government,” he wrote. “But security experts have shown again and again that weakening encryption will make it easier for foreign hackers, criminals and spies to break into Americans’ bank accounts, health records and phones, without preventing terrorists from ‘going dark.'”

Advocating for his “Secure Data Act,” Wyden said that Americans are better off with stronger encryption and sound computer security rather than having backdoor support from the government, which would instead put them at risk. He further argued that there is no concrete evidence that proves that building a back door for government surveillance would do American citizens any good.

Wyden’s argument against encryption comes at a time when national and international government agencies are reevaluating their homeland security to deal with massive terror attacks like the ones recently seen in Paris.

“While [weakening encryption] would no doubt make things easier for the intelligence and law enforcement communities, it would come at a grave societal cost — and a different security cost — and still fail to solve some of the problems intelligence agencies say they have with surveillance,” Wired noted in an article. 

Wyden’s article comes on the heels of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National District Attorneys Association’s report on encryption.

“The proliferation of sophisticated encryption technology and other technological barriers have increasingly hindered law enforcement’s ability to lawfully access criminal and terrorist-related communications,” the report said.

While President Barack Obama’s administration recently decided to put an end to massive surveillance of American citizens, the recent Paris attacks and terror threats in Brussels have brought the conversation back to the front burner. The topic is now expected to open up to wider public discussions that could eventually spark government involvement.



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