Internet Governance

Congressional Thoughts on Backdoors to Encryption

An amazing thing happened in Washington last week. The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had a hearing on Encryption Technology and Potential U.S. Policy Responses. In it, the FBI attempted to demonize encryption used by business, singling out Google and Apple but in general targeting all of us that provide Internet infrastructure. The vocal members that stood up to talk were having none of it.

“Creating a pathway for decryption only for good guys is technologically stupid,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). “Take your complaints to the National Security Agency, which caused this problem,” Lieu added. “This is a private sector response to government overreach.” Here is a link to the video.

Here’s the most incredible thing – of the Members of Congress on the committee, two were coders and a third had run an ISP before joining Congress! There aren’t enough of them, but some of the geeks have apparently arrived in Washington – which makes it a little more hopeful that we aren’t going to be subjected to even more boneheaded policies that erode confidence in the hosting and Cloud markets.

Privacy is important so encryption is important. Backdoors to encryption are a bad idea any way you slice it. Nothing is ever more secure with a hole in it. A backdoor for government is a front door for hackers, and that’s just one of many reasons why backdoors are wrong. Glad to see at least some people in Congress agree with us!

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