FBI tells tech companies offering encryption to reconsider “their business model”

FBI Director James Comey, 2014. [REUTERS]

Despite zero indication the people responsible for recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino used encryption, the FBI is launching an all-out PR war on crypto.

Now, FBI director James Comey is making tech firms that offer end-to-end encryption tools an offer they can't refuse: they should reconsider “their business model,” he said today, and instead adopt encryption techniques that let them intercept communications, and hand them over to law enforcement when asked.

From The Intercept:

End-to-end encryption, which is the state of the art in providing secure communications on the internet, has become increasingly common and desirable in the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance by the government.

Comey had previously argued that tech companies could somehow come up with a “solution” that allowed for government access but didn’t weaken security. Tech experts called this a “magic pony” and mocked him for his naivete.

Now, Comey said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning, extensive conversations with tech companies have persuaded him that “it’s not a technical issue.”

“It is a business model question,” he said. “The question we have to ask is: Should they change their business model?

Also on Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) echoed the call to mandate backdoors in crypto.

“If there is a conspiracy going on” among terrorists who use crypto, “that encryption ought to be able to be pierced,” said Feinstein, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Again, there is no evidence and no indication at this time that any of the people responsible for recent Islamic State-inspired attacks in the United States or Paris used crypto.



Comey Calls on Tech Companies Offering End-to-End Encryption to Reconsider “Their Business Model” [The Intercept]