FBI, DOJ want companies to back off end-to-end encryption

U.S. tech companies should retain access to the encrypted information of their customers, instead of providing end-to-end encryption, in order to give police the tools they need to investigate crimes and terrorist activity, two senior law enforcement officials said.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI aren’t seeking new legislation to require tech companies to comply with warrant requests, at least for now, and they don’t want companies to build encryption back doors that give the agencies direct access to communications and information stored on smartphones, said Sally Quillian Yates, the DOJ’s deputy attorney general.

Instead, the DOJ and FBI, in their continuing efforts to combat the use of encryption by criminals and terrorists, are proposing that tech and communications companies retain internal access to encrypted information so that they can comply with court-ordered search warrants, she told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Several tech companies already retain some access to customers’ encrypted data, she said.

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