Tech Companies Urge White House to Leave Encryption Alone

Tech companies in the U.S. are urging the Obama administration not to impose policies that could potentially weaken encryption systems created to protect the privacy of consumers. “We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool,” stated a letter to President Obama this week from the Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, representing companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft.

“Obama administration officials have pushed the companies to find ways to let law enforcement bypass encryption to investigate illegal activities including terrorism threats, but not weaken it in a way that would let criminals and computer hackers penetrate the security wall,” reports Re/code.

However, the Obama administration has yet to specify regulatory or legislative action to reach that objective.

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“Consumer trust in digital products and services is an essential component enabling continued economic growth of the online marketplace,” wrote the tech groups. “Accordingly, we urge you not to pursue any policy or proposal that would require or encourage companies to weaken these technologies, including the weakening of encryption or creating encryption ‘work-arounds’.”

Days before the tech industry sent its letter, “the United States enacted legislation that will curtail the government’s ability to scoop up huge volumes of data related to records of Americans’ telephone calls,” notes Re/code.

The surveillance was in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was initially brought to public attention by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.