Let's Have an Adult Conversation on Encryption

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Media Outlet: New America Weekly

In Slate, Kevin Bankston wrote about FBI Director James Comey's proposal to begin "adult conversations" on the topic of encryption.

When Comey insists that we haven’t yet had the adult conversation on this issue, he’s insulting everyone who has disagreed with him—which is almost everyone who’s voiced an opinion on the subject, that disagreement flowing in an endless stream of expert white papers (issued by adult institutions such as MIT and Harvard), editorials, coalition letters, congressional testimony, National Academies of Sciences proceedings, and more. 
Ever since this latest debate over encryption was first sparked in the fall of 2014 when Apple announced that new iPhones would be completely encrypted by default—a debate that peaked with 2016’s court fight between Apple and the FBI over the locked iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters—the clear consensus among experts has been that any kind of mandate on companies to weaken their products’ security to ensure government access to encrypted data would be devastating to cybersecurity and to the international competitiveness of U.S. tech companies.

 This piece was also syndicated in Slate's Future Tense.


Author:

Kevin Bankston is the director of New America’s Open Technology Institute, where he works in the public interest to ensure that all communities have equitable access to an internet that is both open and secure. He previously served as OTI's policy director.