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Top global security experts defend encryption

Maria Korolov | July 13, 2015
Security experts have published a paper arguing that allowing government agents special access to communications would have detrimental effects.

Comey stopped short of making any concrete proposals, but urged for more discussion of how "encryption as currently implemented poses real barriers to law enforcement's ability to seek information in specific cases of possible national security threat."

The government is between a rock and a hard place, said Richard Blech, CEO at Secure Channels.

"You cannot have a backdoor that only the 'good guys' can use, it will be exploited by the bad guys," he said.

Kunal Rupani, senior product manager at Accellion, said that existing communication protocols actually don't go far enough in protecting privacy and security.

The paper published this week by security experts focused on protecting content, he said. "A big piece that is missing is metadata -- and the metadata can be even more useful than the content."

Metadata, which is usually transmitted in unencrypted form, allow marketers, criminals, and agents of both local and foreign governments to track how messages are communicated, he said.

"Who am I sharing the file with? What time did I look at the file?" he asked. "Very few people really talk about this information."

Other metadata can be used to track online behavior, physical locations, and much more.

There are efforts underway to close down some of these security holes.

But, according to Rupani, there is government opposition, and this restricts innovation and hurts competitiveness.

"As we globalize, the need for open communications increases, and the actions that the government is trying to take is definitely concerning," he said.

 

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