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Feds only have themselves to blame for Apple and Google's smartphone encryption efforts

For the past two weeks, federal agencies and the executive branch has launched a cacophony of critique for Apple and Google for bolstering the encryption on their user's smartphones. That, the opposition camp says, will result in drug dealers, pedophiles, identity thieves, and other violent criminals evading capture, leading to an uptick in crime. That will affect millions of Americans who each year are classified as victims of theft and robbery, violence, and sexual crimes. Made up of the FBI and the NSA, the outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, and members of Congress, they are calling for laws to be changed, and Apple and Google to face sanctions for their privacy protections. But this was described as a "misleading PR offensive" to scaring Americans into believing encrypted devices are a bad thing by The Guardian's Trevor Timm. The federal agencies' opposition to Apple and Google's move to double-down on device security is nothing short of fearmongering. To make matters worse, on Saturday a piece by The Washington Post's editorial board declared there must be a "compromise" on smartphone encryption, adding yet another major voice to the voices of criticism. The "too-long, didn't read" version is that the Post's editorial board believes that this level of security affects "relatively few cases" and is "not about mass surveillance." It adds that this "seems reasonable and excessively intrusive." Its solution? A "back door" for law enforcement — exactly the kind of back door that Apple, Google, and other Silicon Valley technology giants denied they installed in the wake of the PRISM program's disclosure. In a staggeringly naive and ill-thought out sense of wishful thinking, the Post's board idealizes that a "kind of secure golden key" that Apple and Google would retain and would use only when a court has approved a search warrant. via ZDNet.

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