FBI insists it doesn’t need digital backdoors

FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni recently told a congressional committee the bureau isn’t attempting to restrict encryption protocols without integrated back doors that can be accessed by law enforcement officials.

“No one’s suggesting that Congress re-enter the encryption battles of the late 1990s,” Caproni said in an official statement quoted by CNET.

“There’s [really] no need to talk about encryption keys, escrowed keys, and the like – that’s not what this is all about.”

According to Caproni, proposals for expanded Internet wiretapping authority should focus on ensuring that providers hand over data if requested by law enforcement officials.

Unsuprisingly, the concept of mandating digital backdoors was harshly criticized by a number of legislators and industry experts, including Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. 

“I believe legislatively forcing telecommunications providers into building back doors into systems will actually make us less safe and less secure,” said Conyers.

Meanwhile, Susan Landau, a computer scientist at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, said it was unclear as to what data retrieval FBI methods the FBI was actually considering.

“There aren’t concrete suggestions on the table. [So], I don’t quite understand what the FBI is pushing for.”

However, Landau did emphasize that requiring back doors in every Internet app would put American innovation at a global disadvantage.

“For American competitiveness it is critical that we preserve the ease and speed with which innovative new communications technologies can be developed.

“[In addition], building wiretapping into communications infrastructure creates serious risk that the communications system will be subverted either by trusted insiders or skilled outsiders, including foreign governments, hackers, identity thieves and perpetrators of economic espionage.”

(Via CNET & Wired)