On Saturday the Obama administration announced that it would stop pursuing plans to pass legislation that would have given US law enforcement full access to encrypted user messages.
The announcement by the White House on Saturday is in essence just an official confirmation of what FBI Director James Comey testified on Thursday – he said during his testimony that the administration would not try and pass a bill that would allow cracking of encrypted messages, although he warns that “the use of encryption [is] posing real challenges to the FBI’s ability to fulfill its […] [mission].”
According to a New York Times report the decision to back away from the legislation was made based on the fear that the obtained information might be hacked once it has been decrypted. Given the recent events of federal computers being hacked, this fear seems very justified and, personally, this reporter is happy that there isn’t even more new anti-privacy bill in the works right now.
This year has been marked by many large corporations taking steps to actually protect user data from governments. A strategy that this reporter attributes to the huge backlash in public opinion that was birthed by the outrageous amount of data handed over to governments – the corporations need a new PR-stunt, and this time it actually seems to be favorable for the user.
Anyhow, the White House will not be passing any new bill allowing for even more user data to be decrypted and scrutinized by federal agents and that is definitely a good thing.