FBI against encryption on smartphones

    As you know, in the latest versions of the mobile operating systems Android 5.0 and iOS 8, data encryption is implemented by default. To retrieve information, physical access to the phone and knowledge of the password are now required.

    The FBI is extremely dissatisfied with what Apple and Google developers did. Moreover, the Bureau considers this position of these companies antisocial. FBI Director James B Comey is trying to get public opinion to his side. Coomey's enchanting performance took place on October 16 at the Brookings Institution (Washington), one of the leading think tanks in the United States, which specializes in social sciences, municipal administration, foreign policy and the global economy ( transcript ).

    The introduction of cryptography in iOS and Android has become the main topic of the FBI Director's speech. He again repeated the main points of his position.

    Technology has become a tool in the hands of very dangerous people, says Cowmi. Unfortunately, laws lag behind technological progress, so law enforcement agencies are not always able to obtain the necessary evidence to prosecute criminals and prevent terrorism. “We have a legal right to intercept and listen to communications and receive information on a court order, but often there is no technical ability to do this.”

    The main obstacle in the fight against crime, in recent years, is the increasingly frequent encryption of data, both real-time communications and information stored on devices.

    The FBI director says that over the past 20 years everything has been much simpler, and the security services without any problems got access to any necessary information and listened to the phones of suspects. Now, objects of surveillance "jump" between different cellular networks and WiFi, use a variety of applications, including VoIP, devices on different platforms.

    But worst of all, when cryptographic data protection is used. This completely undermines the work of the FBI. The situation is not saved by the fact that the data can be obtained from a cloud backup, says Coomey, because this backup does not contain all the user's information, and criminals do not make backups at all.

    Coomey believes that for Apple and Google, encryption is a "marketing device", but it has very serious consequences in real life, because it allows you to hide important information from the law and avoid punishment for criminals. “Our private sector partners [Apple and Google] need to take a step back, take a break and consider changing course.”

    The Director of the FBI admits that encryption is necessary: ​​"It needs the country, the business needs." You just need to make sure that using the legal procedure you can get any key. Coomee speaks out “against backdoors”, proposing instead to introduce a “transparent, understandable procedure”, which he calls “front door”.

    “We also need regulations or laws to create a level playing field so that all communications service providers adhere to the same standard and that our representatives in law enforcement, national security and public security can continue to do their work.”

    Perhaps this is the most emotional fragment of this extravaganza:

    “I think it's time to ask: where are we, as a society? Maybe the principle of the rule of law has ceased to operate in our country, where no one can put himself above the law? Are we so distrusting the government and law enforcement agencies that we are ready to give freedom to criminals ... ready to leave victims of crime in search of justice? "

    Koumi's speech provoked a powerful response on the Internet. For example, Daniel Bernstein of the University of Illinois made an outstanding irony presentation “Ensure that cryptography remains unsafe” , where he described the long-standing history of security services introducing backdoors into hardware devices, programs, and cryptographic standards.

    Independent Security Specialist Adam Cowdill believes the FBI is dealing with a typical misrepresentation. They call backdoors by a different name ("front door", in Koumi's terminology) and refer to the protection of public interests. Codill Sure FBI Paves The Way For CALEA Style Bill, which will give public services access to all user data, with or without a judicial request.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation did not stand aside . Fund officials said the FBI is trying to convince society of “the possibility of some kind of imaginary version of security, where the“ good guys ”can get a backdoor or an extra key to your house, and the bad guys never use it. Everyone with even a rudimentary understanding of security will tell you that this does not happen . Therefore, the “discussion” Cumey calls for is false, and we suspect that he knows this. ”

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