Pedophiles and terrorists are the two bogeymen used by law enforcement to get people to surrender their rights and acquiesce to short circuiting the rule of law. The general line is that ‘if you don’t do this, you must support pedophiles and terrorists’.
The latest to be accused of supporting these two bogeymen are Apple and Google, by offering users encrypted communications, a senior FBI official has told the House Homeland Security Committee in Congress.
Michael Steinbach, assistant director in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, told Congress yesterday that ISIS and other terrorist groups are using commercially available encryption technology to secure their communications, preventing law enforcement surveillance.
Steinbach, in as brazen an attempt to stifle your liberty as we’ve ever seen, called for private companies to “build technological solutions to prevent encryption above all else.”
In short, he would like an FBI backdoor into the communication of every American.
This is the precise practice recently condemned by Apple CEO Tim Cook, which we profiled here, because its both impossible and seriously infringes peoples rights and freedoms
The lazy director’s statement is a sharp reversal of a call the FBI made four years ago, which recommended encryption as a basic security measure.
Steinbach told the committee that encrypted communications were the bane of the agency’s efforts to keep the American public safe from terror, yet the FBI recently admitted such warrantless wiretapping and spying hasn’t actually caught any terrorists, ever.
In another bizarre statement, Steinbach played word games, saying that:
“Privacy above all other things, including safety and freedom from terrorism, is not where we want to go,” Steinbach said. “We’re not looking at going through a back door or being nefarious.”
He somehow thinks that if companies work directly with law enforcement, then it isn’t a backdoor.
Front door or back door it amounts to not only a mathematical impossibility to put back doors in encryption algorithms but also a competitive disadvantage for American companies, who are already losing customers because of similar arrangements with the NSA.
Steinbach’s absurd, technically impossible, request is the latest example of lazy policing in America. Just like the DEA, which we covered here, the FBI wants yet more ability to easily do their jobs, regardless of the implications on your rights and freedoms.
And that’s exactly the point – their jobs should be difficult and should be covered in red tape. These are vital checks to ensure rogue operators aren’t using all the power granted to law enforcement for bad purposes and that their actions follow the rule of law.
The FBI’s campaign to make their jobs easier at the expense of both your rights and the rule of law is lazy policing, plain and simple. Their job should be done the right way, with checks and balances, rather than the easy way.