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Fine, OK, no backdoors, says Deputy AG. Just keep PLAINTEXT copies of everyone's messages



That's the problem - he is OF COURSE talking about (and specifically about) hosting companies and ISPs and also mobile vendors and developers.

That has always been the focus: the data transmitted, hosted and controlled by these third parties. It's never been about the data stored on a random person's home laptop or a corporation's e-mail server.

Accessing that data requires the authorities to actually approach the owner of the data because the owner controls where and how it is stored.

Accessing data a user stores in Dropbox or Gmail is different, however, in that this data may, in theory, be accessed remotely without the knowledge of the subject. It can be collected en masse and sifted for relevance post hoc.

THIS is what they want and has more in common with 'tapping a phone' than executing a search warrant. With a search warrant, the authorities have to actually go and obtain the data (or at least the hardware) physically while tapping a phone allows them to eavesdrop - to spy on - the target unknown.

What these agencies are asking for is actually even MORE than tapping a phone because the stored data and communications of the digital world are frequently historic and so one can sift through for previous wrong-doings.

Will this help them catch criminals and threats? Quite possibly. Is it proportionate? I don't believe so. It's open to MASSIVE abuse, MASSIVE oversteps and puts EVERYONE - man woman and child - at significant risk due to the inevitability of weaknesses in process, technology and execution, not to mention the weakness inherent in those in charge of it all.

If the justification is that it will make everyone a bit safer from the terropedos then why stop there? Install cameras and microphones in everyone's houses and cars and offices, all fed back to the government.

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