Telegraph Africa

Africa Daily News – Telegraph

Paris terror attacks renew encryption technology security vs. privacy debate

Published on Nov 17 2015 // Featured, Technology

00Law enforcement officials are renewing their long-standing calls, in the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, for limits on encryption technology that can prevent the government from spying on phone and email conversations.

Though U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to say Monday whether the suspects in Friday’s attacks on the French capital may have used encrypted communications to hide their plans from authorities, there is already widespread speculation that the Islamist attackers used such technology to keep their plan a secret.

“There has been a significant increase in the operational security of a number of these operatives and terrorist networks as they have gone to school on what it is they need to do to keep their activities concealed from the authorities,” CIA Director John O. Brennan told a Center for Strategic and International Studies audience Monday.

“In the past several years, because of the number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists, there have been some policy and legal and other actions taken that make our ability to collectively find these terrorists much more challenging,” he said in an apparent reference to Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s spying programs.

New York Police Department Commissioner William Bratton similarly criticized the way that technology enabled with encryption capabilities has left law enforcement “blind.”

Encryption scrambles communications so that it is impossible to read the messages without a key, and it poses a potential problem for investigators as they ramp up surveillance of suspected Islamic State-inspired operatives in the U.S. to thwart any potential copycat attacks.

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