FBI Director Christopher Wray on Encryption: We Can't Have an 'Entirely Unfettered Space Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement'

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Encryption should not provide an "unfettered space" for criminals to hide behind, FBI Director Christopher Wray said today in an interview at the RSA conference, a cybersecurity event in San Francisco.

    As noted by CNET, Wray said that while the FBI is not seeking backdoors in electronics, encryption needs to have limitations.

    "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, echoing a position that law enforcement officials have taken on encryption time and time again.

    Apple and other technology companies have been clashing with law enforcement agencies like the FBI and fighting anti-encryption legislation for years now. Apple's most public battle with the U.S. government was in 2016, when the Cupertino company was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone used by Syed Farook, a shooter in the 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

    Apple opposed the order and said that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the data on the device, but Apple is continually dealing with additional law enforcement attempts to weaken encryption.

    Multiple tech companies, Apple included, have formed the Reform Government Surveillance coalition to promote strong device encryption and fight against legislation calling for backdoor access into electronic devices.

    Apple has argued that strong encryption is essential for keeping its customers safe from hackers and other malicious entities. A backdoor created for government access would not necessarily remain in government hands and could put the company's entire customer base at risk.

    During the interview, Wray said that encryption is a "provocative subject" and he provided no additional insight into how tech companies might provide strong encryption for customers while also acquiescing to law enforcement demands for device access.

    Wray did say that the U.S. is seeing an uptick in threats from "various foreign adversaries" that are using criminal hackers, which suggests the need for strong encryption is greater than ever.

    Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

    Article Link: FBI Director Christopher Wray on Encryption: We Can't Have an 'Entirely Unfettered Space Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement'
  2. ElRojito macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2012
    Yes, yes we can. Doing this will only negatively affect common citizens.
  3. mozumder macrumors 6502a

    Mar 9, 2009
    Even privacy advocates recognize that strong encryption is completely dangerous to society.
  4. CerebralX macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2013
    Looking for a place of freedom and rationality
    Yes we bloody can. Government has no say in my freedom.
  5. Agit21 macrumors regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    If Apple ever gives up their encryption policy I'm switching to Android :)
    (well that'll save me a lot of money too)
  6. Heineken macrumors 65816


    Jan 27, 2018
    More like idiots.
  7. york2600 macrumors regular


    Jul 24, 2002
    Portland, OR
    Actually we can and attempting to make encryption illegal only ensures that criminals are the only people who utilize it.
  8. twocents macrumors regular


    Mar 31, 2016
    California, USA
    Those who value security over freedom lose both. The same principle applies online. Once you open a backdoor, its only going to be another Pandora's box.
  9. guerro macrumors regular


    Jul 18, 2002
    Parts Unknown
  10. bigchief macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2009
    What privacy advocates?
  11. AngerDanger, Mar 5, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    Agreed. Next step is regulating thoughts of the human mind; we can't have these apes thinking whatever thought just happens across their neurons!
  12. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Just waiting for the FBI to say they have the need and right to scan my brain to get my private internal thoughts. [Guess what I am thinking now. See? You didn't need to weaken encryption.]

    The idea that privacy is dangerous is lunacy, and there are other ways of collecting information than cracking encryption or using backdoors. Weakening encryption just allows governments to collect information indiscriminately on an industrial scale. I use the word 'governments', plural, advisedly. Anything the US government can crack other governments can crack as well.
  13. patrickbarnes macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2012
    [citation needed]
  14. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Beat me to it....
  15. Naraxus macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2016
  16. G5isAlive macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2003
    Not sure why these agencies feel it's their right to spy on private communications. I understand that they have gotten away with it in recent decades because technology has outpaced privacy, but at some point in history they did not have the ability to intercept all communication did they?
  17. camomac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2005
    Left Coast
    Of course they would say that... plant the seed..
  18. Vanilla35 macrumors 68040


    Apr 11, 2013
    Washington D.C.
    The deal to contest privacy was made several decades ago. This is not surprising. It's quite obvious to see the trend, and it's not a new thing, or coincidental at all.

    A shame to see our liberties and power as citizens dwindle away as the country matures. It's happening everywhere though.
  19. born4sky macrumors 6502a


    Mar 14, 2008
    Meanwhile Facebook gets unlimited access to your phone... with an army of other apps collecting data.
  20. ChromeAce macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
  21. wigby macrumors 68000

    Jun 7, 2007
    Yes and they also recognize that weak encryption is even more dangerous to society. Law enforcement wants a magic bullet that will never exist so we will live in a world of crime and compromises. No big deal.
  22. nsayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    He also said envelopes are bad because they allow people to send all manner of illegal things through the mail without an opportunity for postal inspectors to interdict them. (that was sarcasm, btw)

  23. HJM.NL macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2016
    Apple is seeing a billions and billions of dollar opportunity. If it just was for privacy and no profits, Timmy wouldn’t put so much energy in it.

    They both have a different agenda and goals. Apple and the fbi, and they both aren’t transparent in their real goals.
  24. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    Headline reads like a manifesto for the thought police.

    I think either they know what they are arguing for is impossible and dangerous to attempt but are pushing for as far as they can go for a strategy of 'reach for the stars and get to the moon' approach (get as much leeway as they can before oversight or limitations), or else it is worryingly, disturbingly inept and technologically illiterate.
  25. nt5672 macrumors 68000

    Jun 30, 2007
    But privacy professionals understand that that a backdoor for the government is also a backdoor for China, Russia, and every street criminal that can use a computer.

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