The US government waives its legal backdoors

The US government conceded some ground on the issue of encryption: In a Senate hearing last week, FBI Director James Comey acknowledged that the White House did not ask Congress to vote on the legalization this type of practice. “To his great regret,” he says, who has taken a public position on several occasions in favor of this type of legal backdoor to bypass encryption tools especially made by Apple and Google.

The controversy is not new: in fact, it was already mentioned in the ’90s, at the time when the cryptographic tools were strictly controlled for export by the authorities in place. Following revelations of Edward Snowden, Apple and Google have seen the commercial interest and marketing to highlight this type of functionality, and offer on their respective mobile OS tools to encrypt the contents of the phone as well as secure messaging point item. To the US authorities, the development of these technologies is a problem, coming injurious to the conduct of police investigations.

A concession from the government: IT players had already raised several times against the establishment such backdoors into their systems. Nevertheless, this does not question the Patriot Act or programs carried out by the NSA, which continue to intercept user data, but this time with the cooperation of these same companies.

Backdoors mentioned by the US government were rather address the problem of encryption tools entirely in the hands of the user: for example, Apple has repeatedly communicated that it was not able to decrypt messages sent to its message, the user is the only one with the keys to decrypt the messages.

The decline of the US government deserves to be seen in the light of the international context: the issue is debated in Britain and France, where Anssi has positioned itself in favor of “bright spots” for access encrypted data exchanged through these services. Invalidation of Safe Harbor, which occurred last week, also played in the balance: the establishment of government backdoors would have been another blow to confidence brought US companies, already battered on the issue of confidentiality and personal data.

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