Their fear is that cops and feds will "go dark," an FBI term for a potential scenario where encryption makes it impossible to intercept criminals' communications.But in light of China's new proposals, some think the US' own position is a little ironic."You can't have it both ways," Trevor Timm, the co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told Motherboard. "If the US forces tech companies to install backdoors in encryption, then tech companies will have no choice but to go along with China when they demand the same power."
"If the US forces tech companies to install backdoors in encryption, then tech companies will have no choice but to go along with China when they demand the same power."
Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted that someday US officials will "realize how much damage they've enabled" with their "silly requests" for backdoors.Ironically, the US government sent a letter to China expressing concern about its new law. "The Administration is aggressively working to have China walk back from these troubling regulations," US Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a statement.A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment from Motherboard."It's stunningly shortsighted for the FBI and NSA not to realize this," Timm added. "By demanding backdoors, these US government agencies are putting everyone's cybersecurity at risk."In an oft-cited examples of "if you build it, they will come," hackers exploited a system designed to let police tap phones to spy on more than a hundred Greek cellphones, including that of the prime minister.At the time, Steven Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University, wrote that this incident shows how "built-in wiretap facilities and the like are really dangerous, and are easily abused."That hasn't stopped other from asking though. Several countries, including India, Kuwait and UAE, requested BlackBerry to include a backdoor in its devices so that authorities could access encrypted communications. And a leaked document in 2013 revealed that BlackBerry's lawful interception system in India was "ready for use."
Someday US officials will look back and realize how much global damage they've enabled with their silly requests for key escrow.
— Matthew Green (@matthew_d_green) February 27, 2015