While some governments are trying to ban end-to-end encryption or insert backdoors into encrypted systems, a prominent yet unexpected voice has spoken out in support of protecting people’s privacy. Michael Chertoff, the former Secretary of Homeland Security under the Bush administration from 2005 to 2009, told an audience at the 2015 Aspen Security Forum that compromising encryption would make users vulnerable to attack from both legitimate and malicious sources, and could even become a strategic weakness to the US, ripe for exploitation by its enemies.
“I think that it’s a mistake to require companies that are making hardware and software to build a duplicate key or a backdoor, even if you hedge it with the notion that there’s going to be a court order,” Chertoff said.
Chertoff’s comments come in the wake of FBI Director James Comey warning the US Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees that without a backdoor into encrypted systems the country would be at risk of terrorist attack (yawn), because stuff like that really helps. Comey claims that encryption makes his job harder, as though the world should open its metaphorical doors to make sure he gets to go home by 5. He said, “In universal strong encryption, I see something that is with us already and growing every day that will inexorably affect my ability to do that job,” failing to acknowledge that, in accordance with human rights, privacy, and basic decency, it should be hard to spy on people.
Thank you DefenseOne for providing us with this information.