How Washington's campaign against encryption could help terrorists


Lawmakers are going after encrypted devices in a big way following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. But experts warn that doing so will actually hurt the average citizen and actually make it easier for terrorists to communicate without governments seeing it.

After the attacks, several lawmakers pointed to encryption as a contributing factor even before the facts had come out. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said it was "likely" that the terrorists used encryption to communicate. His ranking colleague on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., complained that encryption limited the amount of "good intelligence" that officials could gather. "Only good intelligence is going to keep people safe," Feinstein said.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, struck a similar chord in more generic language. "Technology exists today that allows terrorists and criminals to communicate in the shadows, using encryption that makes it impossible for law enforcement or national security authorities to do everything they can to protect Americans," Grassley said.

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