Facebook, Apple, Google and other leading technology companies have called on politicians around the world to maintain strong encryption standards online. Government agencies have increasingly sought backdoor access to encrypted devices and data in order to intercept messages and thwart terrorism. Facebook and 55 other companies formed an industry group called the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) to help promote encryption, but the process of protecting user data has increasingly come under fire since the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris earlier this month.
“What will it take? 129 dead on American soil? 129 killed in California? What level of atrocity, what location will it take for the Gods of Silicon Valley to wake up to the dangerous game they are playing by plunging their apps and emails ever deeper into encryption, so allowing jihadists to plot behind an impenetrable wall?” UK newspaper The Telegraph wrote.
That kind of harsh rhetoric is overblown and certainly isn’t contributing to a reasonable conversation, but it does mean Facebook and other tech giants need to step up and vocally protect their users.
“We deeply appreciate law enforcement’s and the national security community’s work to protect us, but weakening encryption or creating backdoors to encrypted devices and data for use by the good guys would actually create vulnerabilities to be exploited by the bad guys,” wrote Dean Garfield, president of the ITI.
Assisting law enforcement while protecting private data is a tough balance to strike, but at least Facebook is standing up for protecting user info.