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Developers Urge Politicians to Back Off Encryption Backdoor Push

FBI Director James Comey has renewed calls on Silicon Valley to offer access to encrypted communications.


A group representing developers from top tech companies including Facebook and Google warned Congress Thursday that any move to weaken encryption on consumer devices would “expose our most personal and sensitive data.”

The Application Developers Alliance issued a statement saying that any solution that includes a backdoor, even if it’s intended for use by trusted government entities, will only weaken security and leave users vulnerable to hackers and other bad actors seeking access to private information.

“End-to-end encryption is good for the American people and should be supported by law enforcement authorities worldwide,” the group said in a statement. “The goal of making it more difficult for bad actors to conspire over the Internet is laudable. However, Congress must carefully consider the consequences of weakening security, which will erode the public’s trust in our digital ecosystem and could expose our most personal and sensitive data.”

The statement comes in response to renewed calls this week for Silicon Valley companies to decode encrypted communications for law enforcement, following last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. The couple who launched the attack had devices with some form of encryption, ABC reported, citing senior U.S. officials.

In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary committee, FBI Director James B. Comey said investigators were unable to read more than 109 text messages exchanged by the attackers in a shooting last May in Garland, Texas, because the exchange with a known terrorist was encrypted.

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