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Friday, 16 January 2015

Encrypted chat apps become a problem for the Obama administration too

Earlier this week we heard that, if re-elected in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron could ban encrypted chat apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, Snapchat, and alike, if the authorities couldn’t find a way to decrypt (read) this type of communication with a proper warrant. After meeting with Cameron, US President Barack Obama acknowledged that said encrypted chat apps can become a problem in the US too.
If we find evidence of a terrorist plot… and despite having a phone number, despite having a social media address or email address, we can’t penetrate that, that’s a problem,” said President Barack Obama. According to the President, authorities should not be locked out of encrypted phones and communications, raising a difficult question and choice between the security of private information and the ability of law enforcement to gather intelligence.
Despite being able to access contents of certain types of electronic communications (like phone calls and emails, even social media), with a proper warrant, as described by the law, the legal provisions are outdated, notes The Wall Street Journal, and they don’t “mandate tech firms incorporate such features into modern apps”.
President Obama thinks that there has to be a middle ground, keeping information private, but allowing authorities to access said information with a proper warrant.
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