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World's Top Cryptographers on Encryption Backdoors: No Way

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Directions to the back door.

A panel of leading cryptographers agreed this week that inserting backdoors to unscramble encrypted communications is a threat to confidentiality.


A panel of leading cryptographers at this week's RSA Conference agreed inserting backdoors to unscramble encrypted communications is a threat to confidentiality, and Congress should act to balance this with law enforcement and national security needs.

"The question is, where do you put the line?" asked Weizmann Institute of Technology professor Adi Shamir, co-inventor of the RSA algorithm.

The panelists raised Apple's opposition to a court order to unlock the encryption of an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists as a case in point. Shamir noted Apple made the mistake of claiming compliance was technically impossible when a loophole existed, and he said what it should have done was close the loophole immediately and upgrade to inhibit compliance.

Meanwhile, former Twitter security head Moxie Marlinspike saw flaws in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's argument that allowing it a backdoor for electronic surveillance is socially beneficial. Moreover, he said if Apple loses the court battle, it could create more intrusive spying opportunities.

Public key cryptography co-inventor Whitfield Diffie, who this week was named the co-recipient of the 2015 ACM A.M. Turing Award, predicted the outcome of the encryption debate will determine democracy's future. "We're in a new era of confrontation of humans and machines. It's the major issue of our age," Diffie said. "Who controls the machine is who will control the world."

From Network World
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