- The FBI is continuing its push for backdoors into encrypted communications, CSO reports.
- FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee he’s speaking with tech leaders about the need to crack encrypted communications in order to track down terrorists.
- Tech companies would need to change their business model in order to comply, however.
Businesses that sell phones whose stored messages can’t be decrypted by third parties or apps that encrypt voice and data end-to-end need to switch to selling products that they can unencrypt if given a court order, Comey said.
“There are plenty of folks who make good phones and are able to unlock them in response to a court order,” Comey said. “In fact the makers of phones that today can’t be unlocked, a year ago they could be unlocked.”
The security industry is concerned that such backdoors represent built-in weaknesses in encryption schemes that could be exploited by parties who don’t have court orders.
Comey said tech companies should just accept that they would be selling less secure products.
“We see that encryption is getting in the way of our ability to have court orders effective to gather information we need in our most important work, and we all agree we have to figure out whether we can maximize both of those values - safety and security on the Internet and public safety,” he said. “That’s good news.”
Comey said the morning before the Paris attacks, one of terrorists exchanged 109 messages with an overseas terrorist, but the FBI has no idea what those messages said because they were encrypted.
“That is a big problem,” he said.