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FBI’s Demand For Backdoors Met With Skepticism In Congress

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On Wednesday an FBI official testified before the House Committee On Government Oversight in favor of its proposal to force technology companies to create backdoors for law enforcement to enter computer systems. But the hearing, if anything, proved how unfeasible the proposal was with security experts and members of Congress highlighting that there was no way to create back doors that only the FBI could go through – once a backdoor is created anyone can enter it including bad actors.

Experts testified that the only way to do what the FBI was requesting was to weaken security infrastructure which would make Americans more vulnerable to cyberattacks and make the US tech industry less competitive around the world as fewer countries would want to import products designed to be easily broken into.

Perhaps least impressed with the FBI’s argument was Congressman Ted Lieu who slammed the proposal saying: “I do agree with law enforcement that we live in a dangerous world. That’s why our founders put the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution of the United States – because they understood that an Orwellian, overreaching federal government is one of the most dangerous things in the world.” Lieu noted that Apple and Google were increasing encryption and security due to privacy concerns by the public in reaction to “government overreach,” and that all the government had to do was “follow the damn Constitution.”

Lieu echoed a sentiment by other members of Congress and experts on the panel that public distrust of law enforcement was a result of NSA actions that violated the public’s rights and even suggested the FBI blame the NSA for the lack of positive reception to its proposal.

No one who testified, not even the FBI witness, believed it was possible to create a backdoor that only law enforcement could access which means the trade off is really between weak cybersecurity that the law enforcement and criminals can easily break through and strong cybersecurity where neither can with ease.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.