The bloodshed in Paris led U. S. officials Monday to renew calls for limits on technology that prevents governments from spying on phone conversations, text messages and e-mails.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said she asked Silicon Valley companies to help law enforcement and intelligence agencies access communications that have been encrypted – or scrambled to evade surveillance – if terrorists are using the tools to plan attacks.
‘I have asked for help. And I haven’t gotten any help,’ Feinstein said Monday in an interview with MSNBC. ‘If you create a product that allows evil monsters to communicate in this way, to behead children, to strike innocents, whether it’s at a game in a stadium, in a small restaurant in Paris, take down an airliner, that’s a big problem.’
The debate over using encryption illustrates how the pendulum of balancing security and privacy swings in response to events. Companies such as Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. incorporated stronger encryption in their products after revelations of U. S. spying were exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013. Now the tables have turned.
Apple and Google on Monday didn’t respond to requests for comment on the issue. A Yahoo spokeswoman declined to comment. In the past, the companies have argued that governments can obtain evidence through other means, such as informants.
This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Bloomberg Business ‘ November 18, 2015.