American law enforcement criticizes ubiquitous encryption

During the International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University, Attorney General William Barr during his keynote address tried to reassure that total encryption and privacy is a wicked problem to protect society from criminal activity.  While he welcomed the utility of encryption, Mr Barr pointed out that hackers, terrorists, drug traffickers, human traffickers, fraudsters, and sexual predators also use encryption to avoid prosecution. Attorney General blames service providers and manufacturers for refusing to provide technology that allows for lawful access of encrypted data by law enforcement agencies in appropriate circumstances by appealing to a particular interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. ‘We are able, as part of our basic social compact, to guarantee individuals a certain zone of privacy is precise because the public has reserved the right to access that zone when public safety requires. If the public’s right of access is blocked, then these zones of personal privacy are converted into “law-free zones” insulated from legitimate scrutiny.’

Mr Barr believes that technology providers must maintain an appropriate mechanism for lawful access.  He concluded that for the US this is not the question of whether to have such lawful ‘backdoors’, but how to provide their legal status, referring to the experience of the UK, Australia, and even China and Russia.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray upheld Barr’s idea to provide lawful access to encrypted devices and data.