To catch up with the new technologies of malfeasance, FBI director Robert Mueller traveled to Silicon Valley last November to persuade technology companies to build “backdoors” into their products. If Mueller’s wish were granted, the FBI would gain undetected real-time access to suspects’ Skype calls, Facebook chats, and other online communicationsand in “clear text,” the industry lingo for unencrypted data. Backdoors, in other words, would make the Internet — and especially its burgeoning social media sector — “wiretappable.”
This is one of the cyber threats I talked about last week: insecurities deliberately created in some mistaken belief that they will stop crime. Once you build a backdoor into a product, you need to ensure that only the good guys use that backdoor, and only when they should. We’d all be much more secure if the backdoor didn’t exist at all.