Police, DAs and prosecutors bid for enhanced encrypted data access

By Thomas Patrick O'Brien

25 November 2015 at 09:02 BST

District attorneys, police chiefs and prosecutors across America launched a reinvigorated campaign push for federal legislation that would provide investigators access to hitherto private, encrypted communications.

Maksim Kabaku

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) said in a statement they were joining forces to 'press for immediate action to address this critical threat'.

Increased scrutiny

Encrypted communications have been put under increased scrutiny following the 13 November terror attacks in Paris, which killed 130 and wounded hundreds more. Intelligence officers and lawmakers across different countries have said they believe it likely members and affiliates of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) conducted planning communications over encrypted channels, shielding them from lawmakers and investigators. Despite there being no positive evidence delivered to prove these claims, the longstanding drive towards law enforcement agencies adopting greater powers to inspect encrypted data has been given renewed focus.

'Vulnerabilities to be exploited'

Responding to the renewed drive for greater encrypted data surveillance powers, The Information Technology Industry Council, the country-wide technology industry consortium, rejected calls arguing for greater surveillance powers. Dean Garfield, ITIC CEO, explained the council’s opposition: 'Weakening encryption or creating backdoors to encrypted devices and data for use by the good guys would actually create vulnerabilities to be exploited by the bad guys, which would almost certainly cause serious physical and financial harm across our society and our economy.'

Continue to push 

However, lawmakers and police chiefs on Tuesday said they would continue to push for law changes that control digital data privacy laws, including the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Source: The Hill


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