Friday, January 22, 2016

NSA Director Finally Admits Encryption Is Needed To Protect Public’s Privacy

Encryption, a security measure that makes data impossible to read without a secure code or password, has become an increasingly contentious subject for government agencies and private companies. While the likes of Apple, Android, and other technology companies maintain it is vital, the federal government has forcefully resisted. On Thursday, however, NSA Director Mike Rogers expressed his support for the security feature, drawing a clear line in the sand between federal intelligence and law enforcement.

On Thursday, Rogers told the Atlantic Council think tank, “encryption is foundational to the future.” Though surveillance officials don’t often champion privacy, Rogers emphasized the importance of encryption and the need to incorporate it into security practices.

“Concerns about privacy have never been higher. Trying to get all those things right, to realize that — it isn’t about one or the other,” he said. Though he maintained that privacy should not be the dominant concern, he also rejected the belief that “security is the imperative and that ought to drive everything,” adding, “We’ve got to meet these two imperatives. We’ve got some challenging times ahead of us, folks.”

Rogers cited the recent Office of Personnel Management hack of over 20 million users as a reason to increase encryption rather than scale it back. “What you saw at OPM, you’re going to see a whole lot more of,” he said, referring to the massive hack that compromised the personal data about 20 million people who obtained background checks.

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