Security vs. encryption

What follows is a letter I’ve just sent to my Congressman, Reid Ribble.

Dear Mr. Ribble,

After last Friday’s attacks in Paris I can’t help but notice the steady drumbeat of voices blaming strong encryption. As an IT professional, let me assure you that these voices are at best misguided. If a backdoor is built into commercially-available encryption, there is no amount of care that will prevent that backdoor from being exploited by malicious parties, whether they are state or criminal actors.

Also, it’s important to understand that only a modest amount of technical ability is needed to acquire and use encryption. Any move to weaken the built-in encryption of our computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. will serve merely to expose the less technically savvy to criminals – e.g. identity theft – and provide no meaningful increase in our physical security. Even petty criminals could continue to enjoy covert communications channels, and technically literate organizations like ISIL will not be deterred in any way.

I urge you to be a voice of reason in any conversations that may come up on this topic, and to vote against any legislation that aims to weaken our digital security. The only people who ultimately benefit from encryption backdoors are criminals and foreign adversaries.

Thanks for your time,

Scott Reynolds

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