While the Obama administration will not force corporations, such as Apple, to decrypt communications for law enforcement, it will continue to bring pressure on companies to enable some sort of backdoor for government search requests.
FBI director James Comey announced that the government will not force companies to decrypt communications at a U.S. Senate hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Comey added that the tone of FBI and Justice Department talks with tech companies has changed, becoming “increasingly productive” with “a lot of the venom” disappearing. An anonymous official quoted by the Post hinted that this is why the administration is choosing to forego the legislative route.
The administration will continue to pressure companies to include a backdoor in the encryption for government search requests. The Washington Post reported that while the decision had been reached on October 1st, it was just revealed on Thursday.
Apple’s iOS 8 and 9 mobile operating systems include such a level of encryption that the company itself cannot decrypt data when it is served with a warrant. This has lead government law enforcement officials to complain that such encryption could interfere with criminal and terrorism investigations, even going so far as to suggest such encryption will someday lead to the death of a child.
Meanwhile, many websites and platforms continue to be under attack by hackers financed by criminals and foreign governments, making such backdoor access to data another exploit such hackers could exploit to access data.