FBI Slings Anti-Privacy FUD Against Encryption at RSA Conf

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Wed Mar 6 13:09:49 PST 2019


Encryption should have limits. That's the message FBI Director
Christopher Wray had for cybersecurity experts Tuesday. The technology
that scrambles up information so only intended recipients can read it
is useful, he said, but it shouldn't provide a playground for
criminals where law enforcement can't reach them. "It can't be a
sustainable end state for there to be an entirely unfettered space
that's utterly beyond law enforcement for criminals to hide," Wray
said during a live interview at the RSA Conference, a major
cybersecurity gathering in San Francisco. His comments are part of a
back-and-forth between government agencies and security experts over
the role of encryption technology in public safety. Agencies like the
FBI have repeatedly voiced concerns like Wray's, saying encryption
technology locks them out of communications between criminals.
Cybersecurity experts say the technology is crucial for keeping data
and critical computer systems safe from hackers. Letting law
enforcement access encrypted information just creates a backdoor
hackers will ultimately exploit for evil deeds, they say.

Wray, a former assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of
Justice who counts among his biggest cases prosecutions against Enron
officials, acknowledged Tuesday that encryption is "a provocative
subject." As the leader of the nation's top law enforcement agency,
though, he's focused on making sure the government can carry out
criminal investigations. Hackers in other countries should expect more
investigations and indictments, Wray said. "We're going to follow the
facts wherever they lead, to whomever they lead, no matter who doesn't
like it," he said. To applause, he added, "I don't really care what
some foreign government has to say about it."

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