[ISN] The FBI’s Stance on Encrypted Communications

http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2015/04/20/the-fbis-stance-on-encrypted-communications/ By Amy Hess Executive Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Apr1l 20, 2015 {This post is in response to the article, Should Law Enforcement Have the Ability to Access Encrypted Communications} AMY HESS: Imagine an America where federal, state, and municipal law enforcement agencies cannot access critical communications, even when legally authorized to do so. Imagine a time when the police cannot pursue logical leads in electronic data to rescue a missing child, identify the co-conspirators of a massive fraud scheme, or obtain relevant evidence of an elected official’s public corruption. Imagine the injustice if a suspected criminal can hide incriminating communications without fear of discovery by the police, or if information that could exonerate an innocent party is inaccessible. With the move to ubiquitous encryption, that time is closer than you think. Increasingly, law enforcement investigations require some degree of access to encrypted communications—whether stored on a computer or mobile device, or transmitted over a communication service provider’s network—and that access is increasingly limited. The FBI firmly supports the development and adoption of robust encryption as a key tool to strengthen cybersecurity, secure commerce and trade, safeguard private information, and promote free expression and association. However, absolute encryption does not mean absolute safety. Terrorists and other criminals also use encryption to conceal and facilitate their crimes. No one in this country should be beyond the law. The notion that electronic devices and communications could never be unlocked or unencrypted – even when a judge has decided that the public interest requires accessing this data to find evidence — is troubling. It may be time to ask: Is that a cost we, as a society, are prepared to pay? […]