"Neither would we ever accept the idea that a person should be allowed to keep a hoard of child sexual abuse material from the scrutiny of the justice system when all of society’s traditional procedures for protecting the person’s privacy, like the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, have been satisfied. But in the digital world, that is increasingly the situation in which we find ourselves."
I keep a hard drive at a distant friend's house, and he does the same - backups of important data, documents etc I want to survive a house fire or significant disaster (assuming I myself survive).
Should I be the target of a search warrant and computers/drives taken, that drive's staying put but my friend loses his (hoping as I write this there's nothing naughty on his!).
Now lets say instead of a drive I kept a folder of flattened and dried remains of mashed-up dead trees at his house, and some of those sheets hold material deemed illegal under local law. How would any of this prevent that? If I have stuff off-site and out of range of the warrant (even if just over the fence), how is that any different to having stuff stored digitally?
Cops are still busting fiddlers and snorters/suppliers all the time, even when their opsec kung-fu seems pretty strong. It seems to always boil down to decent "real world" police work and mistakes (complacency) on the part of the crooks. If, however, TPTB continue to try to force open encryption so it cannot be trusted, then people will just "revert to the old ways" or come up with other means that the police cannot (for now) break.
When I was growing up, young as I was I knew that to be 'outted' meant big problems. It didn't stop me finding people to share my at-the-time "illegal perversions" with. Call it 'gaydar'. good observation and deduction skills, or whatever else, people find like-minded people and share like-minded pleasures - and we've been doing this for millennia regardless of what TPTB have considered "illegal" or society has considered 'immoral'. Some things seem to really thrive when they're pushed underground - 'forbidden fruit' seems so much tastier. Christianity thrived when it carried a death-penalty. Some people got really rich during "prohibition" and the bars/clubs thrived even though they feared a raid. Illegal drugs are rampant in pretty much every society, but it seems (last tiny snippet I read) that in the few countries where stuff is legal they have much lower rates of addiction and related issues?
Maybe there's a better way to deal with these issues. Certainly, putting "back-doors" into encryption isn't one such way. Punish multitudes of innocents while barely inconveniencing the guilty as they look for new ways to hide.