Tech Giants Press President Obama to Impose Encryption

Tech Giants Press President Obama to Impose Encryption

The technology industry striving hard to shield its data encryption solutions and products, has now knock at President Obama’s doorstep.

A total of 140 tech firms, including Apple and Google, led by New America's Open Technology Institute, have penned a letter to the White House on Tuesday calling data encryption ‘the cornerstone of the modern information economy's security’. The tech giants are urging President Obama to scuttle any law or any action by law enforcement that would allow viewing of decrypted Smartphone data.

The letter is also signed by a number of security experts and trade groups, who also urge the White House to support the recommendations released in Dec. 2013 by the Review Group on Intelligence, stressing strengthening of encryption standards.

The battle over data encryption has ensued for some time now, with tech companies favouring encryption, turned on by default between users, while law agencies like the FBI and NSA are worried that such data encryption would provide a gateway for criminals to communicate with each other without fear of law enforcement oversight.

James Comey, FBI Director, stated,” What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law”. Comey stressed that justice may be denied because of strong encryption. He added that while he is not seeking a backdoor to easily access servers and obtain messages, he would like to use the front door, with clarity and transparency, and with clear guidance provided by the law.

The Edward Snowden leaks have sparked the debate over data encryption and privacy, providing grounded reasons for technology companies to justify their data-protection efforts.

Ultimately, the letter and the techies await President Obama decision. However, the presidential statement of February presented a lopsided view, as the president declared, “Now, in fairness, I think the folks who are in favour of airtight encryption also want to be protected from terrorists.

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