Why Governments Lie About Encryption Backdoors

Why Governments Lie About Encryption Backdoors

Despite any firm evidence to suggest that the terrorist attackers in Paris, in San Bernardino, or at the Planned Parenthood center in Colorado used strong (or perhaps any) encryption to plan their killing sprees, government authorities around the planet — true to the long-standing predictions of myself and others that terrorist attacks would be exploited in this manner — are once again attempting to leverage these horrific events into arguments for requiring “backdoor” government access to the encryption systems that increasingly protect ordinary people everywhere.

This comes despite the virtual unanimity among reputable computer scientists and other encryption experts that such “master keys” to these encryption systems that protect our financial and ever more aspects of our personal lives would be fundamentally weakened by such a government access mechanism, exposing us all to exploits both via mistakes and purposeful abuse, potentially by governments and outside attacks on our data.

It’s difficult — one might say laughable — to take many of these government arguments seriously even in the first place, given the gross incompetence demonstrated by the U.S. government in breaches that exposed millions of citizens’ personal information and vast quantities of NSA secrets — and with similar events occurring around the world at the hands of other governments.

But there are smart people in government too, who fully understand the technical realities of modern strong encryption systems and how backdoors would catastrophically weaken them.

So why do they continue to argue for these backdoor mechanisms, now more loudly than ever?

The answer appears to be that they’re lying to us.

Or if lying seems like too strong a word, we could alternatively say they’re being “incredibly disingenuous” in their arguments.

You don’t need to be a computer scientist to follow the logic of how we reach this unfortunate and frankly disheartening determination regarding governments’ invocation of terrorism as an excuse for demanding crypto backdoors for authorities’ use. READ MORE