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U.S. attorney general William Barr has said consumers should accept the risks that encryption backdoors pose to their personal cybersecurity to ensure law enforcement can access encrypted communications.

In a speech Tuesday in New York, the U.S. attorney general parroted much of the same rhetoric from his predecessors and other senior staff at the Justice Department, calling on tech companies to do more to assist federal authorities to gain access to devices with a lawful order.

Encrypted messaging has taken off in recent years, making its way to Apple products, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, a response from Silicon Valley to the abuse of access by the intelligence services in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013. But law enforcement says encryption thwarts their access to communications they claim they need to prosecute criminals.

The government calls this “going dark” because they cannot see into encrypted communications, and it remains a key talking point by the authorities. Critics — including lawmakers — and security experts have long said there is no secure way to create “backdoor” access to encrypted communications for law enforcement without potentially allowing malicious hackers to also gain access to people’s private communications.

In remarks, Barr said the “significance of the risk should be assessed based on its practical effect on consumer cybersecurity, as well as its relation to the net risks that offering the product poses for society.”

He suggested that the “residual risk of vulnerability resulting from incorporating a lawful access mechanism is materially greater than those already in the unmodified product.”

“Some argue that, to achieve at best a slight incremental improvement in security, it is worth imposing a massive cost on society in the form of degraded safety,” he said.

The risk, he said, was acceptable because “we are talking about consumer products and services such as messaging, smart phones, e-mail, and voice and data applications,” and “not talking about protecting the nation’s nuclear launch codes.”
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He suggested that the “residual risk of vulnerability resulting from incorporating a lawful access mechanism is materially greater than those already in the unmodified product.”

“Some argue that, to achieve at best a slight incremental improvement in security, it is worth imposing a massive cost on society in the form of degraded safety,” he said.

The risk, he said, was acceptable because “we are talking about consumer products and services such as messaging, smart phones, e-mail, and voice and data applications,” and “not talking about protecting the nation’s nuclear launch codes.”
This is the empty reasoning we get from those who aren't interested in challenges or who run from the challenges of life. We need far better than this.

Eventually, we will begin to see some real options and answers to the challenges being faced by the computer industry. I do wonder when sometimes. No offense to William Barr or any others, but shunning truth does not bring satisfaction to those whose aims are in harmony with perfect ends.