Apple, Google, other tech giants and a number of noted cryptologists have signed a letter to the Obama administration urging the US government to preserve strong encryption against pressure from law enforcement and surveillance agencies.
One highlighted segment of the letter reads: "We urge you to reject any proposal that U.S. companies deliberately weaken the security of their products. We request that the White House instead focus on developing policies that will promote rather than undermine the wide adoption of strong encryption technology. Such policies will in turn help to promote and protect cybersecurity, economic growth, and human rights, both here and abroad."
The Full Letter
The letter was signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups (which aren't listed in the copy of the letter noted above but are noted in the original letter).
The letter comes as senior law enforcement officials warn about the threat to public safety from a loss of access to data and communications. Apple and Google last year announced they were offering forms of smartphone encryption so secure that even law enforcement agencies could not gain access — even with a warrant.
FBI Director James B. Comey said at a recent roundtable with reporters that "There's no doubt that all of us should care passionately about privacy, but we should also care passionately about protecting innocent people."
Comey has long been out to challenge Apple and others that are in the way of the FBI. We covered Comey's initial attack on Apple in a report titled "CBS 60 Minutes: Apple has the Power to Upend the Rule of Law." We also did a follow-up report in November titled "The DOJ's War with Apple & Google Heating up over Encryption." You could read more about this at the Washington Post.
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