Law enforcement needs to protect citizens and their data

Robert Anderson


Robert Anderson helped for 21 years in the FBI, retiring as executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Business Branch. He is currently an advisor at The Chertoff Group and the chief executive of Cyber Defense Labs.

Over the past several years, the law enforcement community has grown increasingly concerned about the to be carried out in digital investigations as technology providers enhance the security shields of their offerings–what some of my former colleagues refer to as “going dark.”

Data once readily accessible to law enforcement is now encrypted, protecting consumers’ data regarding intruders and offenders. However, these efforts have been previously had what Android’s protection bos called the “unintended side effect” of likewise making this data inaccessible to law enforcement agencies. Hence, numerous in the law enforcement community crave capacities necessary to obligate providers to allow them to bypass these protections, often citing physical and national security concerns.

I know first-hand the challenges facing law enforcement agencies, but these concerns must be addressed in a broader protection context, one that takes into consideration personal privacy and safety the requirements of the businesses and our citizens in addition to those raised by law enforcement.

Perhaps the best precedent of enhanced enforcement community’s most appropriate solution is Australia’s recently passed Assistance and Access Bill, an overly-broad constitution that allows Australian the administration had obligate “providers “, such as Google and Facebook, to re-engineer their makes and bypass encryption defences to give law enforcement to access customer data.

While the bill includes limited restrictions on law enforcement agencies petitions, the vague definitions and concentrated sovereignties give the Australian government sweeping influences that is likely undermine the security and privacy of the extremely citizens they aim to protect. Major tech corporations, such as Apple and Facebook, agree and have been working to repel the Australian existing laws and a similar invoice in the UK.

Image: Bryce Durbin/ TechCrunch

Newly developed encryption backdoors and work-arounds will become the target of crooks, hackers, and hostile commonwealth commonwealths, offering new opportunities for data compromise and criticize through the newly created tools and the flawed code that inevitably accompanies some of them. These vulnerabilities erode providers’ efforts to secure their customers’ data, generating new and powerful vulnerabilities even as business struggle to address existing ones.

And these vulnerabilities would not only impact “citizens “, but governments as well, including services and designs used by the law enforcement and national security communities. This comes amidst government efforts to significantly increase corporate persons responsible for the safety of its purchaser data through laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. Who will customers, or the governmental forces, blamed when a government-mandated backdoor consumed by hackers to compromise consumer data? Who will be responsible for the damage?

Companies have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their customers’ data, which is not merely includes personally identifiable message( PII ), but their intellectual property, fiscal data, and national security secrets.

Worse, the vulnerabilities created under statutes such as the Assistance and Access Bill would be subject almost exclusively of the outcome of law enforcement authorities, leaving companies unable to make their own decisions about the security of their products. How can we expect a company to protect purchaser data when their most fundamental security decisions are out of their hands?

phone encryption

Image: Bryce Durbin/ TechCrunch

Thus far law enforcement decide to minimise, if not dismis, these concerns–focusing singularly on getting the required information. This is understandable–a law enforcement officer should use every strength available to them to solve a suit, just as I did when I helped as a State Trooper and as a FBI Special Agent, including when I served as Executive Assistant Director( EAD) overseeing the San Bernardino terror attack case during my final months in 2015.

Decisions regarding these types of broom abilities shall not be required to be and cannot left open only to law enforcement. It is up to the private sector companies, and our government, to weigh vying its safety and privacy stakes. Our government cannot sacrifice the ability of companies and citizens to properly secure their data and systems’ security in the name of often vague physical and national security concerns, especially when there are other ways to rectify such concerns of law enforcement.

That said, these protection responsibilities cut both behaviors. Recent data breaches goes to show that many companies is still a long way to go to adequately protect their customers’ data. Companies cannot reasonably cry foul over the negative protection impacts of proposed law enforcement data access while continuing to omission and undermine the security of their own users’ data.

Providers and enhanced enforcement community should be held to robust security criteria that ensure the security of our citizens and their data–we need legal restrictions on how government accesses private data and on how private companies accumulate and use the same data.

There may not be an easy answer to the “going dark” issue, but it is time for all of us, in government and the private sector, to understand that enhanced data protection through properly implemented encryption and data expend policies is in everyone’s best interest.

The “extra ordinary” access sought by law enforcement agencies cannot exist in a vacuum–it will have far reaching and significant impacts well beyond the narrow confines of a single investigation. It is time for a serious exchange between law enforcement and the private sector to recognize that their security interests are two sides of the same coin.