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Tech Giants Don’t Want Obama to Give Police Access to Encrypted Phone Data


FBI director James B. Comey (left).

FBI Director James B. Comey has expressed concern that the growing use of encrypted technologies is hindering the ability of law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.

Credit: Andrew Harnick/AP

 

Tech behemoths including Apple and Google and leading cryptologists are urging President Obama to reject any government proposal that alters the security of smartphones and other communications devices so that law enforcement can view decrypted data.

In a letter to be sent Tuesday and obtained by The Washington Post, a coalition of tech firms, security experts and others appeal to the White House to protect privacy rights as it considers how to address law enforcement’s need to access data that is increasingly encrypted.

"Strong encryption is the cornerstone of the modern information economy’s security," said the letter, signed by more than 140 tech companies, prominent technologists and civil society groups.

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.

"There’s no doubt that all of us should care passionately about privacy, but we should also care passionately about protecting innocent people," FBI Director James B. Comey said at a recent roundtable with reporters.

 

From The Washington Post
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