Tags: rod rosenstein | encryption | devices | safety | terrorism

Rosenstein: Feds Need Power Over Warrant Proof Encrypted Devices

Image: Rosenstein: Feds Need Power Over Warrant Proof Encrypted Devices
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Brynn Anderson/AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 October 2017 10:48 AM

Rod Rosenstein says federal law enforcement must be able to get court-approved access to encrypted devices in its fight against terrorism, the deputy attorney general said during a speech Tuesday.

"Encrypted communications that cannot be intercepted and locked devices that cannot be opened are law-free zones that permit criminals and terrorists to operate without detection by police and without accountability by judges and juries," Rosenstein said during a speech at the Naval Academy.

Rosenstein made similar remarks last week at a cybersecurity conference in Boston, saying then that warrant-proof encryption is a serious problem, AP reported.

He is calling for "responsibly encryption" that would allow law enforcement access to a smart phone or similar device via a court order.

"Encrypted communications and devices pose the greatest threat to public safety when they are part of mass-market consumer devices and services that enable warrant-proof encryption by default," Rosenstein said.

Rosenstein cited terrorist attacks in San Bernandino, California in 2016 and in Garland, Texas in 2015 as examples of law enforcement being thwarted in its efforts to protect the public.

"On the morning of the attack, one of the terrorists exchanged 109 instant messages with an overseas terrorist," Rosenstein said of the Garland attack. "He used an app employing end-to-end encryption, so that law enforcement could not decode the messages.

"Billions of instant messages are sent and received each day using mainstream apps employing default end-to-end encryption. The app creators do something that the law does not allow telephone carriers to do: they exempt themselves from complying with court orders.

"No solution will be perfect. If only major providers refrain from making their products safe for terrorists and criminals, some sophisticated criminals may migrate to less-used platforms. But any progress in preserving access to communications methods used by most criminals and terrorists would still be a major step forward," Rosenstein said.

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Rod Rosenstein says federal law enforcement must be able to get court-approved access to encrypted devices in its fight against terrorism, the deputy attorney general said during a speech Tuesday.
rod rosenstein, encryption, devices, safety, terrorism
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2017-48-11
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 10:48 AM
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