The United States has a long and complicated relationship with encryption. While free speech campaigners and many technologists defend encryption as a tool that is a technological expression of the First Amendment, many in law enforcement argue that encryption protects criminals, terrorists, and child abusers.
Until recently, it was only the authoritarian regimes of Russia, China, and Turkey that demanded backdoors to encrypted communications, which fitted with their policies of censorship and information control. But in early October, U.S. Attorney General William Barr wrote to Facebook demanding that the company halts plans to expand encryption across its messaging services “without including a means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens.”
The letter, which was co-signed with the U.K. and Australian governments, came after an explosive New York Times investigation that reported an unprecedented 45 million images of child sexual abuse were found online in 2018 alone. Poorly-resourced law enforcement is battling against sophisticated and powerful technologies that keep offenders anonymous, campaigners say.
Full article at OneZero’s Medium page. Date of publication: 14/10/2019.