During an interview in a news program airing on CBS, Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the conflict regarding encryption between tech industries and law agencies.
Cook’s main focus was this conflict that has been ongoing between the law enforcement agencies and high tech industries. The interviewer asked Cook about the demand and need for law agencies to be granted access to encrypted data on Apple’ mobile devices.
He replied that smartphones these days carried highly confidential and sensitive data which needs to be protected. Now the only way to keep it safe is encryption and the company had a right to it. However, he added that the law required these companies to hand over any data if demanded through a warrant and firms had to comply.
While on one hand they were liable to hand over data, on the other, the company still had the right to retain encrypted communication.
This stipulation regarding encrypted communication has not been taken well by the law enforcement agencies.
The director of FBI even agrees that the public safety problem is directly proportional to the law’s aversion to technology. In institutional terms, this is described as ‘going dark’, which means that the people responsible for the security of the people are sometimes unable to do their job properly because of technological restrictions.
Those responsible for the protection of people were unable to prosecute criminal activities extensively and investigate terrorists due to the inability to access evidence, sometimes even with lawful permission. Even if the authority was able to legally intercept communications and obtain information, they lacked the technological skills required to do so.
Cook had a different opinion on the matter of encrypted information regarding privacy and security. His stance is that in America, everybody should be able to maintain their privacy and get adequate security.
Experts agreed that outing private information was the wrong way to deal with the issue. It would be like asking someone to not have locks on their door just so the investigation would be easier in case of a criminal activity. Relaxing digital security is not the answer to the problem.
There were other debates that sparked while the issue of encryption became a serious problem. While some remained optimistic about a compromise between the tech giants and law enforcement agencies could be reached, others were skeptical.
Many were of the opinion that this issue was primarily ‘binary’, which meant that putting a stop to end-to-end encryption would really do nothing to stop the criminals.
Tech industry workers defended the stance of the industry by claiming that information could easily be decrypted with the help of a supercomputer. Since the government has many of those, it could just give some to the law enforcement agencies.
The government did have resources; they just had to be allocated appropriated to the law agencies because fairly, a removal of encryption was not going to be of much help.
If companies were to change their encryption policies, their business abroad would be affected significantly and they would have to bear losses.