Michael Hayden and the Dutch Government Are against Crypto Backdoors
Last week, former NSA Director Michael Hayden made a very strong argument against deliberately weakening security products by adding backdoors:
Americans’ safety is best served by the highest level of technology possible, and that the country’s intelligence agencies have figured out ways to get around encryption.
“Before any civil libertarians want to come up to me afterwards and get my autograph,” he explained at a Tuesday panel on national security hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, “let me tell you how we got around it: Bulk data and metadata [collection].”
Encryption is “a law enforcement issue more than an intelligence issue,” Hayden argued, “because, frankly, intelligence gets to break all sorts of rules, to cheat, to use other paths.”
“I don’t think it’s a winning hand to attempt to legislate against technological progress,” Hayden said.
“It’s a combination of technology and business,” Hayden said. “Creating a door for the government to enter, at the technological level, creates a very bad business decision on the parts of these companies because that is by definition weaker encryption than would otherwise be available … Both of those realities are true.”
This isn’t new, and is yet another example of the split between the law-enforcement and intelligence communities on this issue. What is new is Hayden saying, effectively: Hey FBI, you guys are idiots for trying to get back doors.
Meanwhile, I have been hearing rumors that “serious” US legislation mandating backdoors is about to be introduced. These rumors are pervasive, but without details.