Defense Department To Congress: 'No, Wait, Encryption Is Actually Good; Don't Break It'
from the seems-important dept
As Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham has continued his latest quest to undermine encryption with a hearing whose sole purpose seemed to be to misleadingly argue that encryption represents a “risk to public safety.” The Defense Department has weighed in to say that’s ridiculous. As you may recall, the DOJ and the FBI have been working overtime to demonize encryption and pretend — against nearly all evidence — that widespread, strong encryption somehow undermines its ability to stop criminals.
However, it appears that other parts of the government are a bit more up to date on these things. Representative Ro Khanna has forwarded a letter to Senator Graham that he received earlier this year from the Defense Department’s CIO Dana Deasy, explaining just how important encryption actually is. The letter highlights how DoD employees rely on the kind of strong encryption found on mobile devices and in VPN services to protect the data of their employees, both at rest (on the devices) and in transit (across the network).
All DoD issued unclassified mobile devices are required to be password protected using strong passwords. The Department also requires that data-in-transit, on DoD issued mobile devices, be encrypted (e.g. VPN) to protect DoD information and resources. The importance of strong encryption and VPNs for our mobile workforce is imperative. Last October, the Department outlined its layered cybersecurity approachto protect DoD information and resources, including service men and women, when using mobile communications capabilities.
As the use of mobile devices continues to expand, it is imperative that innovative security techniques, such as advanced encryption algorithms, are constantly maintained and improved to protect DoD information and resources. The Department believes maintaining a domestic climate for state of the art security and encryption is critical to the protection of our national security.
So, there you have it. The Defense Department believes that strong, unbroken encryption is critical to national security, as opposed to the DOJ which appears to think (incorrectly) that it undermines national security. At the very least, this should mean that politicians should stop uncritically claiming that encryption is some sort of “debate” between privacy and national security. It is not. Encryption protects both of those things. Breaking encryption harms both privacy and national security… in the hopes that it might make law enforcement’s job marginally easier.