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Let’s not make secure encryption illegal

Evan Schuman | April 15, 2016
Restrictions are abhorrent and a draft bill in the Senate is overly broad and ambiguous. But if Congress insists on restrictions, let's add some critical limits.

Secondly, this shouldn’t apply to any old crime. National security has to be at stake — and it can’t be national security in the opinion of the FBI. A federal judicial panel would have to rule it to be a truly compelling matter of national security.

Thirdly, agencies should be restricted to a certain number of requests per year. That would reduce the chance that they would seek court orders for relatively trivial matters.

Finally, the legislation should state explicitly that no vendor would be asked to cripple security for all by, for example, installing a back door or retaining decryption keys.

Although I’m not in favor of restricting encryption, I do acknowledge one way that it can be truly beneficial. Security gets better when the companies responsible for it are actively trying to defeat the security measures they currently take.


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