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Encryption Fans Rip Barr Over Speech

Critics of law enforcement efforts to force technical backdoors to device encryption took issue with Attorney General Bill Barr's characterization of that aforementioned issue, saying it contained "misleading and misguided" statements, and that encryption is bedrock infrastructure, a foundation it suggests the government wants to compromise.

In a July 23 speech at an international cybersecurity conference, Barr said that time was running out on warrant-proof encryption and that the alternative was a crime-filled, "law-fee" internet.

As to providing government access to communications information, Barr said that as a former telecom exec (Verizon), he has been there and it can be done.

In a piece posted on New America's Web site and supported by its Open Technology Institute, as well as Access Now, Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Engine, Internet Society, and TechFreedom.

"Strong digital encryption is the bedrock infrastructure that allows everyday people, businesses, and our government to trust technology for critical needs," the piece asserted. "Barr's demand that tech companies give law enforcement special access to encrypted devices would seriously violate that trust, compromising the security of potentially billions of people by creating a vulnerability that criminals and terrorists could easily exploit."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.