Tell the White House About Strong Encryption
Tell the White House About Strong Encryption

The White House is asking for public comments on "strong encryption" for a meeting they're having this week. I sent the following. You can respond yourself.

Michael Daniel and Ed Felton,

As a software engineer, I'd like to echo the sentiments of nearly all others in my industry: "strong encryption", as the president called for, can not in anyway include a "backdoor", "frontdoor" or similarly named scheme. Anything that provides the government access to data necessarily creates a weakness in the system that can be exploited by bad actors. It directly makes the good guys less safe, and tells the bad guys which encryption algorithms not to use.

Frankly, the government has about as much place in this debate as private industry: none. Encryption belongs in the domains of open source and science where it can be tested, peer-reviewed, and provide public assurance to correctness.

Please remember: all modern encryption is based on one fundamental idea: "math is hard". This is an inherent weakness that we're only just barely staying ahead of by about a decade of computer advances. Given time, even the most powerful encryption is useless. On top of which, good encryption must be paired with a user's perpetual flawless use to be effective.

Put succinctly: encryption suffers enough challenges without facing and additional weakness imposed by a governmental third party.

I encourage you to read more knowledge authors on the topic:

https://theintercept.com/2015/08/11/many-things-wrong-anti-encryption-op-ed-new-york-times/ https://theintercept.com/2015/09/15/fbi-keeps-telling-purely-theoretical-encryption-horror-stories/ http://venturebeat.com/2015/09/24/nsa-director-just-admitted-that-government-copies-of-encryption-keys-are-a-security-risk/ https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150903/17322932164/ftc-commissioner-says-public-needs-strong-encryption-not-backdoors.shtml https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20151119/06213132859/paris-attacks-were-intelligence-community-failure-not-encryption-problem.shtml

–Joey Baker

Tell the White House About Strong Encryption

Joey Baker

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I write code most days. Prevously: photojournalist, EMT. Somewhat obsessed with jouralism.