News FBI: End-to-End Encryption Is an Infectious Problem


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May 16, 2016
Just in case there were any lingering doubts about U.S. law enforcement's stance on end-to-end encryption, which prevents information from being read by anyone but its intended recipient, FBI executive assistant director Amy Hess told the Wall Street Journal this week that its use "is a problem that infects law enforcement and the intelligence community more and more so every day." Read more here.


Nathaniel Mott is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software and hardware component news.

Math Geek

like every other type of program out there, as soon as one becomes mainstream and into the public eye, the folks abusing it have already moved on. compelling these companies to provide backdoors would accomplish nothing. the bad actors out there would simply move on to a private app that does the same thing but without gov interference. if that one catches the gov's eye, they'll move on. the cat and mouse game will never end no matter what law is made.

what the law does do is guarantee that the average citizen never gets out from under the thumb of big brother. since that's the main goal anyway, the laws are actually effective even though most people don't realize what the true goal is for the law. as always criminals don't obey the laws that exist anyway, making new ones won't change that fact.
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as a law abiding citizen who follows the government shouldnt poke their nose where it doesnt belong w/o: a warrant and/or actual proof a person is guilty and not just a hunch.

US gov and FBI are not trusted by many. For good reasons. (not exactly best past records)

and even if the "main" tech giants wouldnt use E2E encryption the ppl who are actually doign bad stuff would find/make their own.

Math Geek

of course what's amusing is they already know this cause those agencies and foreign govs already use their own private e2e apps to keep their own traffic secret. it's not like they never thought of the idea cause they already use it themselves. but they will pretend the only available ways are commercial ones and congress will pretend that's true when they make the laws.
Feb 27, 2019
I've read both James Comey's autobiography and Andrew McCabe's (former FBI Director and Deputy Director, respectively). Both of them go into some depth about the trouble of end-to-end encryption when it falls into the wrong hands, but neither one of them seems to get why people use it. I doubt anyone uses encryption as a form of "to make sure the FBI can't get in."

Law enforcement on every level feels like it's an undue hardship, when the reality is, when you make the populace terrified of their stuff being stolen, misappropriated, or otherwise accessed by both illegitimate tracking means (which is to say apps that want to monitor your smartphone at all times without disclosure, which should be a capital offense - or apps that are datamining everything you do, which should result in huge civil fines per infraction to the point those companies are bankrupt and their leadership penniless for the rest of their days) or by intrusion, why wouldn't everyone encrypt everything all the time to prevent this?

Almost no one's world revolves around keeping the FBI out of their phone. It revolves around protecting what little information we can. The FBI's inability to access information is caught in the crossfire, and most people don't particularly care. Encryption's been in use for decades in the form of ciphers, this is just one created with far more complexity and digitally. If encryption wasn't widely used already, does anyone think people looking to do awful things wouldn't come up with an alternative? Is the FBI that dumb? Or is this just a reductive argument, whining about things they don't like? If they couldn't do it one way, they'd do it another. Hell, "the wedding" is coded language in FBI investigations for potential attacks.
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Bah! Why should we make it easy for gov't to spy on us? Bad enough the cameras and microphones all over in the name of our phones, our convenience devices from Amazon and Google, OSes and apps that data mine, aren't even easy for us to turn off as much as we'd like... (Don't think the gov't ISN'T taking advantage of them.)

Why be concerned if you have nothing to hide? Simple. Overreach, bad interpretations, etc. (Similar to giving a bad cop permission to search your vehicle and they conveniently find a dime-bag that you know for a fact was never there. Many places where there are still some freedoms, It can lead to watch-lists and rights trampled. In other areas such as under the old USSR, Communist, or other countries where your right to have an opinion different than your leaders, worse things.)

You say what I'm saying there is tinfoil-hat stuff? Maybe, maybe not. But there are other bad actors that can and will steal what they can... become you or sell what is needed to become you. Why make it easy to steal you, why make yourself an easy target for those who will twist what you say and do to their own ends?