Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder is perpetuating a bipartisan raid on privacy, reports The Washington Post. He's calling on tech makers to provide "backdoors" to products and services so that law enforcement can route around encryption and get bad guys such as "kidnappers and sexual predators."
So that's why the NSA and other agencies have been hoovering up data from every source possible? To protect us better during a time of ongoing reductions in violent crime?
"It is fully possible to permit law enforcement to do its job while still adequately protecting personal privacy," Holder said at a conference on child sexual abuse, according to a text of his prepared remarks. "When a child is in danger, law enforcement needs to be able to take every legally available step to quickly find and protect the child and to stop those that abuse children. It is worrisome to see companies thwarting our ability to do so."
In his comments, Holder became the highest government official to publicly chastise technology companies for developing systems that make it difficult for law enforcement officials to collect potential evidence, even when they have search warrants. Though he didn't mention Apple and Google by name, his remarks followed their announcements this month of new smartphone encryption policies that have sparked a sharp government response, including from FBI Director James B. Comey last week.
The push for backdoor access by police is an old one. During the 1990s, the Clinton administration's insistence on various forms of easy access to fax machines, computers, and everything else with a plug was widely booed by the emerging digerati (who else remembers discussions of the "Clipper Chip" and "key escrow"?).
In the wake of ongoing revelations of widespread surveillance of data and other electronic communications, it's hard to believe that the government will be selective or restrained in any access it has to anything. And everything.
But don't worry, right? Only the guilty have something to encrypt.
Take it away, Mr. Mojo Risin: