While speaking in New York today, William Barr demanded backdoor access for cops and FBI to all encrypted messages. He added people should accept the risk that encryption backdoor poses to their personal security.In his speech at International Conference on Cyber Security in New York, he called out tech companies to provide backdoor access to texts and emails to help with law and order of the country. Barr went on to say, that if the companies do not provide with the option, they will pass a bill to make it happen. Senior Senator, Ron Wyden opposed the attorney and called his proposal outrageous, wrongheaded and dangerous. Senator also added that if this unprecedented power is given to attorney and President, they will have the power to spy on every American’s life. A Similar instance took place in America in 2015 when the FBI wanted Apple to build a backdoor software that would have allowed them to access the iPhone that belonged to an alleged shooter, but the company denied.
Attorney General, in his long speech, while criticizing tech companies, he added that not being able to access encrypted messages is impairing law enforcement’s ability to fight with terrorism and crime at every level.
Attorney General supported his claim by saying that hundreds of crimes take place because criminals have access to “no law zone.” He also referred to the inability of cops to access encrypted texts, emails, during investigations to convict criminals. In his address, he gave an example of a drug cartel when a Mexican cartel was trafficking large amounts of drugs from Asia to Mexico and then to the USA. They were using Whatsapp messenger to communicate, which made it impossible for law enforcement to conduct wiretaps.
Attorney mentioned that most of the terrorist groups have also switched their communication mode to more cryptic platforms which are designed to block lawful access.
Gail Kent, Facebook’s global public policy lead on security said if the government can access encrypted communication, it would jeopardize cybersecurity for millions of law-abiding people. This address came in a time when Facebook is planning to make its messaging platforms, Whatsapp, Messanger, and Instagram more cryptic.
This is not the first time that the government has proposed such an idea, earlier in UK authorities proposed the backdoor mechanism, but all tech giants, including Google and Apple, rejected to do the same.