- Several security experts said the U.S. government is likely offering financial support for the development of smartphone encryption apps through the government's Open Technology Fund.
- Experts say doing so would allow the government to track terrorists and organized criminals that use encryption to hide their communications.
- OTF, a federally funded organization, allegedly provided $1.3 million to encryption app maker Open Whisper Systems, which makes Signal, RedPhone and TextSecure smartphone apps.
"It would not surprise me if federal agencies were funding encryption apps because it is possibly the only option available to monitor terrorism and organized crime," said Darren Hayes, assistant professor and director of cybersecurity at Pace University. "ISIS members have been actively pushing potential recruits to move to encrypted communications."
"The bottom line is that intelligence agencies need to develop surveillance methods that get around encrypted communications," said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner.
Spokespersons for the FBI and the U.S. Senate and House intelligence committees declined to comment on the OTF funding.
Some experts have said ISIS likely used encrypted communications prior to the Paris massacre that killed 129 people last week.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering potential legislation to find ways to grant intelligence agencies access to encrypted data.