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Encryption is a great tool for those who want to preserve their right to privacy.
Unfortunately for those who seek to spy on the public, encryption is also an irritating hurdle to their efforts.
In the USA, the FBI has lashed out at tech companies which are building strong encryption into their products -- claiming that such features are preventing authorities from the intelligence gathering they need to do in order to preserve public safety.
I'm sure that some authorities would also like the general public to wander around naked -- so that they could see who was armed, who wasn't, who might be carrying contraband and who has the most attractive genitalia.
I'm sorry FBI, NSA, GCSB and all the other nosy-parkers out there, the right to freedom is an inalienable one and no amount of whinging and whining from you will make us give up that right.
However, I believe that it's only a matter of time that, in the name of the wars against terror, ISIS, Ebola, and whatever other monsters "the powers that be" may conjure up to convince us we're in peril, encryption will be declared as illegal as cocaine, heroin, meth-amphetamine and atomic weapons.
FBI director James Comey was quoted as stating that "encryption threatens to lead us all to a very, very dark place".
See what I mean about the fear-mongering being slung around in the lead-up to a move to outlaw encryption?
And as if to prove this, Comey also claimed he was not a scaremonger. Now you know that when they deny something like this, they really are what they claim not to be!
He's also been quoted as saying that the FBI wants to start a dialog with Congress with a view to addressing the issues of data that is effectively hidden from intelligence agencies because of the free use of heavy encryption.
In a speech given at the Brookings Institution, Comey frequently used emotive terms such as "the bad guys" in an attempt to further hype-up the level of threat associated with free access to hard encryption.
I wonder how long before such encryption code ranks right up there with child pornography, The Terrorists' Handbook and recipes for making crystal-meth in the list of things that, if found on your computer, will see you serving some serious jail-time.
Whilst slagging off those companies who have created virtually impenetrable encryption, Comey was quite complimentary towards Apple and Google, saying they were run by "good people" -- which perhaps should raise warning flags. Or, is this an attempt to use reverse psychology so as to get the public thinking that these companies may have built back-doors into their encryption systems and thus avoid them?
However, they do admit that it's full-steam-ahead for the FBI's initiative to force Congress to legislate that all encryption should have some facility for state-access of the data hidden within.
What do I think of this?
Well I'm sure I don't have to tell regular readers that.
But what do YOU think of this?
Should any government have the right to deny its citizens the final right to privacy by demanding that all their data be accessible to its agencies?
Should encryption only be legal if it has state-mandated back-doors that allow unfettered access by those agencies -- for the purposes of ensuring public safety, of course (yeah, right!).
Is this a step too far or just commonsense, in a world where there are so many threats to the safety of the peoples of the Western World?
You tell me (and everyone else) in the forums.
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