March 10, 2020
The Benefits of Encryption and the Implications of Creating Backdoors
Encryption technology has allowed consumers to keep their data and communication private, but it has also allowed criminals to evade surveillance. Policymakers are once again considering whether law enforcement agencies need new tools to handle this technology, such as a backdoor — or built-in access to encrypted data — into their apps. Yet the federal government and law enforcement often already have the ability to access needed digital evidence, and reforms should not endanger the benefits of encryption technology that consumers and businesses enjoy, argues AAF’s Director of Technology and Innovation Policy Jennifer Huddleston.
Law enforcement should have the resources to address concerns about illegal activity, including those conducted via encrypted technologies. In providing these tools, however, policies should not create greater risk that undermine security and civil liberties. Rather than creating a risky and expansive policy by requiring a backdoor, policymakers and law enforcement should seek to better use existing tools and to focus on the underlying problematic behavior.