FBI Wants Tech Companies to Disable Default Smartphone Encryption

Encryption should be Outlawed – FBI Retracts Support to Further Weaken Our Security.

In the past when Apple started encrypting its iPhone by default, the step was lauded by the FBI as it ensured enhanced security. However, FBI has revoked its support and now maintains that encryption of this type needs to be outlawed, of course, for the safety of Americans.

Before the House Appropriations Committee, Jim Comey, FBI’s director, pleaded for a law which would pressurize tech companies to form a backdoor into any encrypted communication device.

encryption-should-be-outlawed-fbi-retracts-support-to-further-weaken-our-security

Does it mean the FBI wants us all to become less safe than we are today? It seems so because that would be the implication if such a law gets imposed. It will ban unbreakable encryption and thus, will definitely weaken our security. It is about time that the White House comes clear about what it actually wants.

Comey revealed that the Obama administration might be drafting such a law as of now. He stated that “one of the things that the administration is working on right now is what would a legislative response look like that would allow us … with the court process to get access to that evidence,” according to The Guardian.

This entire controversy has stemmed from Apple’s choice to encrypt iPhone by default to let users unlock the phone using a password or a pin that even Apple doesn’t know about.

From a security-oriented perspective, this definitely would be a huge step forward considering the US government’s statement that cyber attacks pose a greater threat than terrorism. Anyone would think that FBI will back this decision from Apple but on the contrary, Comey proposes acceptance of a law that prohibits such an encryption simply because it will make investigations harder.

It is an absurd idea that suddenly FBI has gone “dark” and cannot investigate criminals just because of the introduction of a minor improvement in cell phone security. FBI can still visit telecom companies to obtain the metadata of their targeted phone and the department can still track anyone they need to by acquiring a cell phone’s location 24/7. Not to forget that they are still capable of wiretapping the calls and that the four digit passcode that usually iPhone come with by default can be easily broken by the FBI without outside help. So the real motive behind proposing this law is yet debatable.

Why is Encryption integral?

To protect your data, you need to encrypt it. Check out FBI’s official website if you have any ambiguities in your mind. FBI has been encouraging people to enable encryption on their cell phones for years for protecting themselves from criminals. However, prior to the testimony from Comey, FBI concealed that information from public view claiming that security tips weren’t intentionally deleted but “were because of the agency’s ongoing website redesign.”

According to Jonathan Zdziarski, a security expert, the FBI in other words, has “weakened their recommended standards [and] best practices to intentionally leave you vulnerable to security breaches.”

Source: TheGuardian

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.