Security vs Privacy: When Jihad and Encryption Meet

In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, the FBI is warning that ISIS is using encryption technology to outsmart law enforcement.

It’s a problem authorities encountered earlier this year when they found they were unable to decrypt more than 100 messages sent by one of the terrorists who attacked a Texas cartoon exhibit.

The FBI says the government needs a way to access these encrypted communications – and companies need to help.

“Lots of good people have designed their systems and their devices so that a judge’s order cannot be complied with for reasons I understand.  I’m not questioning their motivation,” FBI Director James Comey said.

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But Comey told lawmakers this week that many companies have figured out how to provide secure services to their customers and still comply with court orders.

He insisted the government does not want a “back door” but asked the tech world to create a solution.

“The question we have to ask is – should they change their business model?  That is a very, very hard question, lots of implications to that.  We have to wrestle with it because of what’s at stake,” he said.

Privacy advocates and industry groups have plenty of concerns about weakening encryption.  One practical issue: a tech company could inadvertently turn over innocent citizens’ communications.

The government is mounting pressure on social media companies to be looking out for terrorist propaganda.

But civil liberties experts say– watch out.  Censoring or monitoring content at the government’s request becomes a slippery slope, as well as determining the difference between political speech and terrorism.

The government is also scrambling to keep up with the Islamic State’s sophisticated use of technology in other areas.  ABC News reports ISIS can now produce fake passports using a passport machine likely captured in Syria.

Additionally, a hacker collective called the Ghost Security Group says ISIS has developed its own smartphone app, which reportedly features the latest ISIS executions and battlefield victories.

The terrorists have also been heavily using social media accounts.

It all shows that ISIS is extremely adept at using online technology for recruiting, which means it could become more capable of radicalizing more people and carrying out more deadly attacks.

Report via CBN News

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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