Since the 1990s, U.S. law enforcement has expressed concern about "going dark," defined as an inability to access encrypted communications or data even with a court order.
The FBI is engaged in a public battle with Apple over access to data stored on the iPhoneof one of the San Bernardino attackers and cautions that encrypted messaging apps could hinder the organization's ability to uncover terror plots.
To prevent future attacks, law enforcement has urged U.S. tech giants to build in "backdoors" or "front doors" to their products — essentially, the technical ability to decrypt communications pursuant to a warrant.
Silicon Valley argues that any solution allowing someone other than the data's owner to decrypt communications could be exploited by criminals and state actors, weakening security for everyone.
This debate has been dominated by absolutists. Some cybersecurity experts and privacy advocates are loath to concede that going dark is a problem at all, while many in law enforcement are scornful of what they see as decisions motivated by business interests and remain adamant that anything less than a real-time, on-demand decryption capability is unacceptable.
It does not have to be like this. There are solutions that allow law enforcement to gather the evidence it needs without introducing encryption backdoors. Here from the Los Angeles Times are three worthy of consideration: