Can secure data and the FBI both be in the national interest?

24 December 2016 by Steve Blum
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A bipartisan congressional review of encryption policy – particularly in regards to law enforcement access to private data – came down squarely against requiring back doors or giving master keys to cops. The top line conclusion of the study was “any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest”. But that doesn’t mean that the encryption working group established by the house judiciary, and energy and commerce committees thinks law enforcement agencies should throw up their hands and walk away.… More

Backdoor to encrypted data required in proposed bill

15 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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California’s senior U.S. senator wants software, hardware and telecoms companies, and pretty much everyone else in the high tech universe to keep a master key to their encrypted products and services. And turn the key anytime a court tells them to do so. The draft of a bill by senators Diane Feinstein (D – California) and Richard Burr (R – North Carolina) says…

A covered entity that receives a court order from a government for information or data shall— (A) provide such information or data to such government in an intelligible format; or (B) provide such technical assistance as is necessary to obtain such information or data in an intelligible format or to achieve the purpose of the court order.


Who will secure the securers?

9 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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The FBI is offering the best argument for not giving government agencies back door access to encrypted systems: those same government agencies can’t keep their own stuff locked down. According to a story on Motherboard, the FBI has put out a warning about another massive security breach

The feds warned that “a group of malicious cyber actors,” whom security experts believe to be the government-sponsored hacking group known as APT6, “have compromised and stolen sensitive information from various government and commercial networks” since at least 2011, according to an FBI alert obtained by Motherboard.


FBI shouldn't ask Apple for a backdoor into iPhones

20 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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No problem making a front door.

The legal standoff between the FBI and Apple over a judge’s order to write and turnover a more hackable version of the iOS operating system raises a lot of questions about civil liberties and the U.S. government’s power to 1. dive into any data it wants and 2. force private companies and individuals to help. But it also poses a question about the technical abilities of U.S. investigators.

According to an open letter signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and posted its website

The U.S.


If you like low pay and no privacy, the FBI has a deal for you

1 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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On the other hand, it’s probably easier to pass than the math test at Google.

If it seems like the federal government is losing the war for cyberspace, it might be because it is. And that’s due to a lack of talent in key positions, particularly at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to a federal justice department study, as reported by Reuters, the FBI launched what it called the Next Generation Cyber Initiative in 2012, which involved hiring 134 computer scientists and creating cybersecurity task forces at all of its 56 field offices.… More