Sunday, August 2, 2015
By Paul Martin

By Justin Gardner
August 2, 2015

Last week a surprising actor joined the discussion on the government’s push to mandate “backdoors” to encrypted personal devices. Michael Chertoff, former head of Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), said, “…it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a backdoor…”

He even defended the notion of a free society by saying “…we do not historically organize our society to make it maximally easy for law enforcement, even with court orders, to get information.”

Chertoff works for the tech industry and was being paid to voice their opinion, so his conviction is suspect, especially considering his prior role in dismantling human rights as DHS head.

At the least, he helped bring attention to this issue of grave importance. As companies like Apple and Google are providing encryption to customers to protect their privacy, thanks to the Snowden revelations, government believes they should have complete access to our private data through mandated cryptographic backdoors.

FBI director James Comey had all sorts of doomsday prophecies and Orwellian warnings, saying “encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place” and “Justice may be denied because of a locked phone or an encrypted hard drive.”

While government attempts to scare us into submission, every computer expert that has commented publicly says that mandating this kind of access would perilously weaken information security.

In a letter to the White House, about 140 tech companies, civil liberties and privacy activists stated:

“Encryption protects billions of people every day against countless threats—be they street criminals trying to steal our phones and laptops, computer criminals trying to defraud us, corporate spies trying to obtain our companies’ most valuable trade secrets, repressive governments trying to stifle dissent, or foreign intelligence agencies trying to compromise our and our allies’ most sensitive national security secrets.”

The Rest…HERE

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