An FBI proposal to force companies to provide law enforcement with so-called back doors into consumer phones and computers would be like “drilling a hole in a windshield,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the U.S. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., called the proposal “stupid” and said law enforcement should “just follow the damn Constitution.”
The committee on Wednesday considered whether Congress should pass laws requiring companies to add back doors to their products. In other words, the FBI wants a way to get into consumer data that theoretically only law enforcement–and not hackers–can exploit.
Companies like Apple and Google are increasingly securing their products in response to consumer demands. But law enforcement representatives are pushing Congress to pass laws around this, because they say that protecting people’s human and constitutional right to privacy makes it harder to ‘catch the bad guys.’
On Wednesday a district attorney from Massachusetts, Daniel Conley, claimed that encryption makes data “warrant-proof.” And the FBI’s representative, Amy Hess, claimed that encryption helps “every violent, sexual or financial crime in which handheld technology is used,” despite later saying that encryption makes people safer.
But what the FBI is asking for is basically impossible, testified technologist and respected cryptography expert Matt Blaze. The “stark reality” is that a system cannot have a back door that “only works for the good guys,” Blaze argued.