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FBI Director Wray Says Device Encryption Issue ‘Getting Worse and Worse’

FBI Director Wray Says Device Encryption Issue ‘Getting Worse and Worse’

Although the public battle between the FBI and technology companies over the encryption of devices and their related information has calmed, it continues to rage behind-the-scenes.


FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday that the encryption issue is “getting worse and worse” for law enforcement around the United States at all levels. It’s a common refrain for government officials over the last half-decade, but it’s been a matter of sharp debate especially since the FBI overstated encryption device numbers last year.

“It can’t be a sustainable end state for there to be an entirely unfettered space that’s utterly beyond law enforcement for criminals to hide,” Wray said. “We have to figure out a way to deal with this problem.”

Wray made the comments in front of a friendly crowd, made up of silicon Valley techies at the RSA Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. The FBI director discussed ongoing discussions between the feds and American tech companies.

Wray didn’t offer details about the discussions, simply saying, “I’m hearing increasingly that there are solutions” for striking a balance between privacy and encryption.

In the past, some in the government have suggested “reasonable encryption.” This “solution” would use centralized security keys and allow law enforcement easier access to encrypted devices with a warrant.

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