back to article 'Encryption will make life very easy for criminals and terrorists'

This was the week when the US Attorney General jumped on the bandwagon and took Apple and Google to task for improving encryption on mobile devices. Eric Holder said tightening security on their ecosystems was actually a bad thing, as it could allow child predators to evade authorities and hide illegal images and content on …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Encryption and the Bad Guys

    I have to wonder if it wasn't the fault of the Security Services (oxymoron there perhaps) that decided that they needed to snoop on everyone even if it was just 'Auntie Flow telling Cousing Jayne that her Toy Boy was only afer her pension' instead of just the bad guys that brought this 'we need to encrypt everything' move by the likes of Apple, Google and many others.

    Before this you could have been reasonably sure that only those with something to hide used encrypted messages. Now, more and more people are making the decision to keep what they do away from the 5-Eyes spooks.

    sorry spooks, you may have brought this on yourselves.

    They only have so many of these, therefore it stands to reason that they can't send one after everyone who makes life hard for the NSA etc.

    1. OrsonX

      Re: Encryption and the Bad Guys


      I didn't want encryption until I discovered I was already living in an Orwellian dystopia.

      1. Anonyda3gus

        Re: Encryption and the Bad Guys

        Well Orwell would be pleased to know that were now in the dystopian future he envisaged. Thanks alphabet agencies for confirming our already growing need to keep what we do secret. Thank the lord I already use encryption for practically everything I do especially mobile communications.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Encryption and the Bad Guys

      These government knows that if it makes the claim that encryption make it hard for the NSA to spy on everyone, no one would listen. So they spit out the words 'child molester' and 'terrorist' to try to get their way.

    3. Franklin

      Re: Encryption and the Bad Guys

      When the police say encryption makes it impossible for them to catch the bad guys, I read that as a stark admission of failure on their part. Essentially, they're saying the can't actually figure out how to catch criminals without the crims' help. Normal investigatory processes are useless; they can't catch bad guys unless they use stuff the bad guys themselves have written about their crimes.

  2. DJO Silver badge

    Dual standards?

    Encryption might be used by criminals and terrorists so it must be banned.

    Guns are used by criminals and terrorists so we must sell even more of them.

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Obsession with communications

    Whilst the security sevices are watching communications trying to spot developing plots, how long before a loner, armed with a weapon jumps the White House wall and starts wandering about the place? Guess it will never happen.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    won't someone think of the children

    I would like to suggest to the US Attorney General that everybody should be strangled at birth. Not being strangled at birth is playing right into the hands of the terrorists and paedophiles, who are able to go on and commit heinous acts precisely because they had not been strangled at birth.

    1. Graham Marsden

      @cap'n - Re: won't someone think of the children


      - Judge Death.

  5. Slx

    You should also provide the police with a copy of your house keys, your car keys, the combinations for your safe and regular copies of your diary just in case you're one of those child molesting terrorists.

    That's perfectly reasonable.

    Also maybe just have your post/mail photocopied and maybe just agree to provide information about your location at all times.

    You'd never know! I mean anyone could suddenly turn into one of those child molesting terrorists at any moment. So we need to all rush and throw away every democratic freedom just to ensure that we're all safe.

    Nothing at all unreasonable about that

    (To be read with sarcastic tone)

  6. William Donelson

    Encryption is about CORPORATIONS avoiding the cost of Government demands for data

    Pay attention. Encryption is not to protect you. Corporations don't care about you.

    Encryption is about CORPORATIONS avoiding the cost of Government demands for data.

    1. Sanctimonious Prick
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Encryption is about CORPORATIONS avoiding the cost of Government demands for data

      Wrong! Those corporations get paid 'shed-loads' to allow the spooks in, though it would seem that 'shed-load' of dosh isn't enough to cover the backlash post Snowden.

      I wonder how much it will cost the 5is for a backdoor? Everyone has a price.


  7. Yes Me Silver badge

    It's clear to all

    "Irreversible encryption will make it very difficult — maybe even impossible — for law enforcement to obtain evidence, and I am not sure this reality is clear to all."

    Yes it is, thanks. Actually, that's the point. It's even more clear in countries with authoritarian regimes and not even the tattered remains of the Magna Carta that we have in the US and UK.

    Apparently the AG never read

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: It's clear to all

      Neither the Magna Carta nor the U. S. Constitution, which is much more specific in certain areas, grants a right to hide or destroy evidence of a crime. The Constitution allows warrants, with "probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

      Nearly all of those who have worked themselves into a frenzy over recent comments by the U. S. Attorney General, FBI Director, and others about cell phone encryption have overlooked, perhaps with purpose, the fact that those comments refer to judicially authorized searches of specified devices based on properly issued warrants. Like the encryption of data on cell phones (and other computers) they have little relation to with the largely externally directed foreign intelligence activities of signals intelligence agencies. The public officials are concerned that they will be unable, even with warrant in hand, to conduct court authorized searches, and complaining (and saying that Something Must Be Done) that Apple, alone among major vendors, will no longer be able to help them. Their real concern, probably, is that increased use of encryption on personal devices will make their work a bit harder and put them more often in the position of trying to enforce warrants on device owners. It will do so, but probably not to a degree that poses a significant risk to the public or the effectiveness of law enforcement.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: It's clear to all

        @tom dial - yes you are right, the US AG and others are, in their public statements, referring to legal intercepts backed by judicial oversight.

        However over the last few years it has become clear that some law enforcement agencies are intercepting / analysing data even without judicial oversight, and that judicial oversight is not as transparent or effective as it should be.

        Hence the public (a) not believing the AG etc and (b) turning to encryption even for 'mundan' personal communication

  8. king of foo

    I can see the new MS ads now...

    Buy an unencrypted government friendly windows mobile; people won't think you're a child molesting terrorist...

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    On the other hand ...

    ... encryption makes life more difficult for identity thieves and other scammers.

    And as identity thefts are usually counted in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of victims, I'm going to worry more about that issue.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: On the other hand ...

      One more... top business execs, lawyers etc might need an encrypted phone to protect trade secrets, client confidentiality etc. There's many more legal reasons than illegal reasons to have an encrypted phone

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022