Dear Criminals, Please Stop Hiding Behind Encrypted Devices or Else
Sincerely ~ Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray
Cristal M Clark
FBI Director Christopher Wray who is not a man of many words, at least publicly thus far had quite a bit to say today at the RSA Conference in San Francisco.
Law Enforcement as a whole has had quite a time of dealing with criminals and encrypted devices/data because they cannot just force someone to unlock the device and allow for them to have access to the data stored on it or in a cloud server. What’s more is that in some cases, the devices come equipped with what is known as a “kill switch,” too many unauthorized attempts to access a device using the wrong password and the data is destroyed, likewise a failed login at a specific time can be built into the device and accomplish the same thing.
For law enforcement, that isn’t ideal.
Christopher Wray had this to say today; “It can’t be a sustainable end state for there to be an entirely unfettered space that’s utterly beyond law enforcement for criminals to hide, we have to figure out a way to deal with this problem.”
Christopher is not entirely out of line here and I know that not everyone likes the idea of law enforcement being able to access anyone’s device or data without a warrant, yet in some criminal cases law enforcement’s ability to effectively solve then prosecute a case they would need that access and they would need it relatively quickly.
We have all seen the stories, software is sold both legally and illegally that can bypass most encrypted devices, hackers offer their services as well, the problem in the United States is that the masses, well they aren’t too keen on any of that, at all as it turns out. It’s a rather bit of a timeless tail, we do not want to enable law enforcement to do its job by allowing for them to have the tools to do that job, unless of course something happened that personally affected us in some way, horrifically, then we are all for law enforcement using whatever means necessary to solve the crime, right?
The problem with that argument is simple, you cannot enjoy both of, two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives.
Understandably so, Christopher did not offer up any ideas or solutions either, what could he suggest after all? It’s either allow for law enforcement to legally access encrypted devices/data legally, allow for them to utilize illegal means to gain access or give them ability to monitor and intercept before a crime is ever committed.
As it stands currently, tech giants are more often than not unwilling to just unlock a device for law enforcement and in some cases the desired information has already been wiped from the device or was simply never stored on it.
So it is questionable in some cases as to whether or not having access to an encrypted device/data is actually of a benefit.
Cristal M Clark