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DOJ formalizes request for encryption backdoors

The US Department of Justice, in connection with the “Five Eyes” nations, has issued a statement asking Apple and other technology companies to effectively create backdoors that will weaken the encryption force in general to give police authorities access to data.

In a statement issued Sunday by the US Department of Justice, “International Statement: End-to-End Encryption and Public Safety” is a continuation of the long-running encryption debate. In the last salvo of the ongoing war, representatives of governments from several countries demand access to encrypted data for the sake of sexually exploited children.

The long-standing statement calls for technology companies to “integrate public security into system design” related to encryption, to enable companies to “act against illegal content and activity effectively without reducing security”, while law enforcement can do its job. This includes enabling police authorities to “access content in a readable and usable format where an authorization is lawfully issued, necessary and proportionate, and is subject to strong warranties and oversight.”

In reality, the group is requesting access to encrypted data via some form of backdoor intended only for law enforcement, while still remaining secure to prevent access from hackers and other online criminals.

The group claims that they are working with the technology industry to “develop affordable proposals that will allow technology companies and governments to protect the public and their privacy, defend cybersecurity and human rights and support technological innovation.”

While agreeing that “data protection, respect for privacy and the importance of encryption as technology changes and global Internet standards evolve remain at the forefront of individual states’ legal frameworks,” it will also “challenge the claim that public security cannot be protected. without compromising privacy or cyber security. ”

“We strongly believe that approaches that protect each of these important values ​​are possible, and strive to work with industry to work together on mutually acceptable solutions,” the statement concludes.

The declaration was signed by US Secretary of Justice William Barr, British Foreign Secretary Priti Patel, Australian Home Secretary Peter Dutton and other representatives of Canada, India, Japan and New Zealand.

History repeats itself

The statement is the latest attempt by governments to try to access data that is protected by encryption, which includes versions such as end-to-end encryption that are extremely difficult to monitor. By having access to encrypted content, investigators will be able to monitor illegal activity, and potentially obtain evidence that could lead to the prosecution of criminals.

This has led to a repeated waiver of law enforcement and governments that technology companies should stimulate some form of backdoor in their systems to provide access to the police. The same governments believe it is also possible to enable access while encryption is secure.

Critics respond by insisting that it is not possible to add a back door to encryption without weakening the encryption itself. The general belief is that bad actors would simply try to attack the back door themselves to see data instead of trying to beat the encryption directly.

For Apple, the use of encryption on the device has led to very public disagreements with the US government, such as presidential demands to unlock iPhones used by criminals, such as the Pensacola shooter.

The FBI has also made public calls to Apple to offer backdoors, but after its own breach of iPhone security, such calls should have ended.

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