A leading technology group which represents Apple, Google, Microsoft and other big players in the industry has spoken out against calls to weaken encryption in the name of national security.
The comments from Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) come after politicians and law enforcement representatives have called for technology firms to give them backdoor keys which will allow them to bypass encryption.
Calls to allow government and security services additional access to technology and communications have come following the terrorist attacks in Paris in which 129 people were killed and many more injured.
Speaking in the aftermath of the incident, Chancellor George Osborne argued that terrorist cyber attacks directly threaten human lives and announced plans to double cyber security funding.
However, ITI president and CEO Dean Garfield argued that if anything, weakening encryption would just benefit criminals, terrorists and others looking to use technology and communications to cause harm.
“Encryption is a security tool we rely on every day to stop criminals from draining our bank accounts, to shield our cars and airplanes from being taken over by malicious hacks, and to otherwise preserve our security and safety,” he said in a statement.
Garfield explained that the technology industry understands the job security forces have to do, but that creating backdoors wasn’t the answer, because they’d inevitably be exploited by criminals.
“We deeply appreciate law enforcement’s and the national security community’s work to protect us, but weakening encryption or creating backdoors to encrypted devices and data for use by the good guys would actually create vulnerabilities to be exploited by the bad guys, which would almost certainly cause serious physical and financial harm across our society and our economy,” he said.
“Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense,” Garfield added.
It isn’t only American technology companies which have warned against weakening encryption and giving the government the right to access technology communications technology.
Representatives of the UK technology industry recently told MPs that the Investigatory Powers Bill risks putting British technology companies at a financial disadvantage because customers won’t want to use products the government has the right to hack into.
“Why would you buy something from a UK company if you thought it might have a backdoor which if you buy it from a Russian company, or a Venezuelan company, or a Chilean company, it might not have?”, Matthew Hare, CEO of broadband provider Gigaclear told the Science and Technology Committee.