Burr And Feinstein Plan One Sided Briefing For Law Enforcement To Bitch About 'Going Dark'

from the because-that-side-hasn't-been-heard-from-yet dept

With the world mocking the sheer ignorance of their anti-encryption bill, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein are doubling down by planning a staff "briefing" on the issue of "going dark" with a panel that is made up entirely of law enforcement folks. As far as we can tell, it hasn't been announced publicly, but an emailed announcement was forwarded to us, in which they announce the "briefing" (notably not a "hearing") on "barriers to law enforcement’s ability to lawfully access the electronic evidence they need to identify suspects, solve crimes, exonerate the innocent and protect communities from further crime." The idea here is to convince others in Congress to support their ridiculous bill by gathering a bunch of staffers and scaring them with bogeyman stories of "encryption caused a crime wave!" As such, it's no surprise that the panelists aren't just weighted heavily in one direction, they're practically flipping the boat. Everyone on the panel comes from the same perspective, and will lay out of the argument for "encryption bad!"

PANELISTS

Chief Terrence M. Cunningham
President, International Association of Chiefs of Police
Wellesley, MA, Police Department

Hillar C. Moore, III
District Attorney, 19th Judicial District Attorney's Office
Baton Rouge, LA

Sheriff James Alton Cannon, Jr.
Charleston County, SC, Sheriff's Office

Chief Commissioner Patrick Stevens
Chief Commissioner, Liaison Officer for the Belgian Federal Police
to the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas

Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes
Superintendent, New Jersey State Police

As Marcy Wheeler points out, it does seem odd that these two Senators who are on the Senate Intelligence Committee are pushing so strongly on this issue, when the focus on law enforcement should put it squarely in the Senate Judiciary Committee. In fact, it's not even clear that this briefing is officially Intelligence Committee business at all, but rather just a chance for Burr and Feinsten to push their story from the one side that's already been the most vocal in trying to turn something that isn't actually a problem into something that they insist must be a problem.

The briefing is scheduled to be held this coming Wednesday morning in the Capitol Visitor Center and will be the Senators latest effort to scare the logic out of their colleagues.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:04pm

    Well...

    Perhaps the intelligence community's true power is how much it can gather on its own citizens?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:18pm

    What they want is that if an armed group appears at your door and demands that you hand over decrypted data, and that group has "FBI" emblazoned on their ballcaps and flak jackets, that you hand over the data.

    But that's not somehow magic to the FBI. Any similarly armed group can accomplish the same thing, even if their ballcaps and flak jackets have, instead of "FBI":

    - ISIS
    - Democratic People's Republic of North Korea
    - KKK (with the ballcaps replaced by white hoods)
    - Genovese Crime Family
    - Friends of Cliven Bundy

    and so on. If FBI guns can force decryption, so can ISIS guns.

    IOW, anyone who wants the FBI to get this data needs to explain why they are backing ISIS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      You have it horribly wrong, what they want is the ability to go to whoever provided your device or software and demand that they decrypt the data on your device.
      Initially this will be when they take the device to software or device supplier, but how long before they demand that the supplier give the means for them to do so when they get their hand on your device in the back of their vehicles.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2016 @ 1:47am

        Re: Re:

        I'm afraid you have it horribly wrong as well - they don't need your device, or even you to be present. They just want you're unencrypted data.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          klaus (profile), 12 Apr 2016 @ 2:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Exactly so. In fact it's better that your device (or you) isn't present. That would be an undesirable complication.

          Why is crippling encryption being so vigorously pursued? I would argue that data (well, information) is the most valuable commodity there is. It gives you access to all those other commodities necessary to sustain and grow. And this has always been known. To quote Sir Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Elizabeth I; "Knowlege is never too dear". Machiavelli had a thing or two to say about it too..

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:22pm

    these people....

    bring a new meaning to the term domestic terrorism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:23pm

    You know there is no god when

    Feinstein and company have not been hit by lightning yet. Real evil will always tell you its for your own good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:30pm

      Re: You know there is no god when

      ...and so will something that actually is for your own good. When denial of guilt can be interpreted as proof of guilt, how is an innocent to defend himself?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:38pm

    "Senate Intelligence Committee"
    citation needed, 404 intelligence not found.

    Perhaps they should be asking why with all of the spying they have tacitly approved of never seems to do anything other than provide a report after the event of all of the ways they failed to take action on evidence they had well before the event.

    It is rather shocking (or it should be) that these Senators who sit on this committee can't separate movie plots from reality. That they seek to hold everything else responsible for the absolute failures of those they are charged with overseeing should be punished.

    We need to stop this game of once we pursue one course that we have to stay that course no matter what. Sometimes the best plans fail, and throwing more cash, laws, civil rights onto its pyre will not make it magically work.

    Sometimes the idea is just stupid and better to try, fail, try something else than to keep pretending that it will work if they just do that little bit more this time.

    They were elected to represent the people, perhaps it is time to consider that had a shitty outcome and its time to try something else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 2:44pm

    should be easy enough to get examples of those members using encryption to protect themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    beltorak (profile), 11 Apr 2016 @ 3:04pm

    > exonerate the innocent

    That's some next level Orwelian Newspeak there. "If you've done nothing wrong, dear Patriot, just let us peek at your files, and we get right to exonerating you".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 8:46pm

      Re:

      all patriots are guilty in their eyes though. They go out of their way to target people that know their constitutional rights and either intimidate or assault them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim B., 11 Apr 2016 @ 3:08pm

    Going Dark

    Isn't what the rich were doing with their hiding of money in secret the same as going dark with encryption? I'm sure it is. They took their communications and encrypted it (in a way) through their attorneys in Panama. The only way there was to decrypt it was to go through those attorneys. They were the private key to the going dark scheme.

    Now, everyone on this planet has the right to encrypt their communications in anyway they want and it is ridiculous that any legal authority is claiming otherwise.

    If these legislators wanted to make a point they should also go after this "other" form of encryption too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 11 Apr 2016 @ 3:31pm

    Weak list

    Maybe it's just me, but that list of panelists seems a bit on the weak side. A liason officer for the Belgian police? Really?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 4:19pm

      Re: Weak list

      … that list of panelists seems a bit on the weak side. A liason officer for the Belgian police?
      Instant Replay, p.208—
      Lombardi called us together, and we were all jumping around, hopped up, chattering, tight as drums.

      “OK, boys,” Coach said, in a calm voice. “I want to tell you little story.” He paused, we waited, very quietly, to hear what he had to say. “Did you ever hear,” Vince said, “about why Belgians are so strong?”

      In Green Bay, we tell Belgian jokes, the same jokes people in some areas tell about Italians and people in other areas tell about Poles.

      “No,” one of the guys said.

      “ 'Cause they raise dumbbells,” said Lombardi.

      That was his whole pregame speech.
      That book by Green Bay Packer right guard Jerry Kramer (#64), about the 1967 NFL season(*), was first published in 1968. It was a different era then. I'm not sure you could get away with telling that sort of joke today…

      But you thought it seemed like a weak panel?

       

      (*) Spoiler alert: The Pack beats the Raiders 33-14 in Superbowl II at the end of the book.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      klaus (profile), 12 Apr 2016 @ 2:49am

      Re: Weak list

      It's not stellar. I'm wondering haw many turned down the invite. Being on this panel might not be a solid career move.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AricTheRed (profile), 11 Apr 2016 @ 3:35pm

    I keep waiting for....

    I keep waiting for Feinstein and Burr to "Go Dark"!

    Hey, a guy can dream can't he...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 4:54pm

    Let's face it, Feinstein & Burr think their being slick, in that, rather than legislate a means to an end (a backdoor), their trying to legislate a set of circumstances (you must comply or else) that can only be avoided by incorporating a back door. The easiest way to call them on this, and "fix the bill", is to (publicly) suggest the inclusion of two simple words: "where possible" (e.g. you must present intelligible data or assistance in obtaining the same WHERE POSSIBLE). This way, no one is penalized for being unsuccessful because state of the art uncrackable encryption was utilized.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2016 @ 4:57pm

    On this going dark business I am amazed at the audacity of our government officials to paint something that isn't true.

    In NO REPORTED CASES did the terrorists actually use encryption. They used burner phones. The only reason this phone was used as a test case is because the FBI under estimated the public support it had.

    Notice that the FBI is not saying that the phone they finally cracked had anything of note on it. The idea that two other phones used by this terrorist couple were smashed tells you where the info was as they deemed those phones and the info they contained as important enough to break so that retrievement wasn't possible.

    Only in the security branches can failing at doing the same thing over and over result in added permissions requests. At what point do we say enough is enough and let us try something new that might work, instead of telling us after the fact that they had data they didn't or couldn't find in a timely manner.

    I'm more of the opinion that all this isn't about terrorists at all. It's about social control and the worry of the elite that they won't have enough time to get out of dodge when the facts come to light with the public of all the dirty tricks and nasty plays they've made with government against the public.

    I see lots of problems with the national infrastructure that haven't been addressed and are beginning to fall apart. I see the poor and what is left of the middle class barely making it while the rich do things like the Panama Papers give evidence of to dodge having to pay their real share.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 11 Apr 2016 @ 5:31pm

    Know-Nothing Tyrants in Wonderland

    Burr And Feinstein Plan One Sided Briefing For Law Enforcement To Bitch About 'Going Dark'

    The know-nothing nitwits attending the One Sided Briefing believe that being able to decrypt a persons digital communications will be the panacea that will solve crimes without Law Enforcement having to get off of their keisters and work an investigation in the tried and true manner of yesteryear: physically collecting evidence in actual reality .

    But investigating crime in actual reality would require work/effort and it is much easier point and click in virtual reality like some gung-ho version of "George Jettson" then it is getting your hands dirty canvassing the great unwashed for evidence.

    At the end of the day the governments desire to surveil every last persons communications is not about solving crime; the surveillane is about control. Only a totalitarian government seeks to surveil it's citizens financial transactions, photograph every piece of mail sent via US Postal Service, collect/store every digital communication for future reference, turn citizens into government snitches and force travelers to genuflect to those adorned in colorful costumes while submitting yourself to being gate-raped in order to travel via aircraft.

    Liberty no.

    Tyranny yes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2016 @ 1:11am

    Once again...

    Just because it poses a problem to law enforcement and their ability to gather information does not mean it's automatically bad and/or needs laws passed to 'deal with it'.

    Curtains pose a problem to law enforcement's ability to gather information and solve/prevent crimes, as do walls, in-person conversations, the ability to communicate in languages that aren't understood by any local police, the lack of cameras and mics in every room of every home and building, and countless other things.

    The very idea of privacy poses problems to the ability of the police and government agencies having access to all the data they might want in order to 'solve and prevent crimes', yet that's considered an acceptable 'risk' by the public. If Burr, Feinstein, and any others want to argue that privacy isn't worth the 'risk', then they are welcome to lead by example and install cameras and mics in every room of every house they own, wear tracking and recording gear anywhere they go, and basically voluntarily strip themselves of any privacy they might have had.

    Should they do that then we the public promise, pinky-swear even, that we'll only access the data when we really, really need to, and if that sort of claim is good enough for their spying efforts, it should be good enough here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2016 @ 3:44am

      Re: Once again...

      ...the lack of cameras and mics in every room of every home...

      Heh, the Chief of Police of Houston, Texas once proposed exactly that. Give them time, they're working on it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2016 @ 6:48am

        Re: Re: Once again...

        Yeah, it's really hard to Poe people and agencies that are that nuts, because no matter how crazy you go, they're just a little bit farther.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 12 Apr 2016 @ 6:32am

    a penny for your thoughts

    HOW in the wide, wide world, is the Entertainment industry against this?

    Strong encryption would also include DRM as well, would it not? and we KNOW how MPAA/RIAA feels about those dirty filthy pirates, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2016 @ 8:08am

    Pretty big oxymoron equating Fenistein to anything "Intelligence" related.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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