America’s Anti-Encryption Considerations Receives Pushback

America is considering joining other countries in the war on encryption. It seems that not everyone in the country is on board with this plan.

Last week, we reported on the United States contemplating joining the war on encryption. While this consideration isn’t exactly something new for the country, they would be joining Germany, the UK, and Australia if they did.

While American spy agencies are on board with this plan, it seems that others are not. From CPOMagazine:

It now appears that key agencies within the federal government have mixed feelings about the idea to ban end-to-end encryption. For example, on one hand are law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and Department of Justice, which view end-to-end encryption as a roadblock in their efforts to track down criminals and terrorists. On the other hand, the Commerce and State departments are less willing to take the heavy-handed step to ban end-to-end encryption, due to fears of the potential economic, security and diplomatic consequences.

And, even within agencies, there are mixed messages about how to proceed. The Department of Homeland Security has officials from several key agencies – such as ICE and the Secret Service – that understandably have a positive view of the plan to ban end-to-end encryption. Encrypted messaging, in their view, prevents them from doing their job. But, conversely, officials from the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency perceive end-to-end encryption as a potential national security risk.

The commerce sector certainly has good reason to be upset about the idea of having another war on encryption. If America wants to be a leader in innovation, then they need to be open to the idea of secure communication systems. Banning encryption would mean that innovation and investment would flow out of the country. That’s not even a hypothetical here. It’s exactly what happened when Australia banned secure information. To put it in the words of one company, Australia is experiencing an “exodus” of innovation and investment. Companies look at Australia and essentially say “not with a 10 foot barge pole”.

If America isn’t going to be the home of secure information, another country will. Those investment dollars and business will simply flow out of the country and into that other country.

Of course, encryption goes beyond simply being a business nightmare. It is also a civil rights nightmare as well. Mere months after Australia passed their anti-encryption laws, they began using the laws to circumvent journalistic freedom. After using the laws to their advantage, the country began conducting police raids, arresting multiple journalists in the process. The moves were condemned by the journalism community, but lawmakers doubled down, saying that “nobody is above the law”.

If the United States continues to go down this road, these are two issues they will quickly face head-on. That is, an outflow of business and investment and an influx of oppression. We’ll continue to monitor the situation in the US and bring you any developments we are able to find.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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