Intelligence officials both former and current have cited the terrorist attacks in Paris to put forward new and robust surveillance powers. Inclusive the initiative to circumvent encryption that protects phone records and electronic communications. The move is likely to re-open the highly charged debate around privacy v security. While an open public debate over the cell phone records encryption in real terms a debate has already taken place as defined by Wikileaks and Snowden. However what ever direction any further debate or conjecture takes it is likely to be determined by the events in Paris.
New York Times has reported that authorities believed those responsible for the attacks communicated using encrypted technology. The dark suspended space of the net is fast becoming a fertile breeding ground for terrorist plots, recruitment and communications. The current CIA director has also been critical of the growing shift towards encryption whether it be cell phone records or email communications. The Paris attacks will likely be a defining moment and a wake up call over the debate around electronic surveillance and cryptography.
Some more senior intelligence officials have doubts and worries over the increasing engagement with encryption that are being built into cell phones (Apple IOS8) and communication portals such as Whatsapp. The encryption is seen as placing ever greater obstacles and hurdles in the way of national security and counter terrorism enforcement. The scenario has prompted government action to pressure tech platforms and companies to incorporate a back door to their encryption bringing to life the “crypto wars” fight.
The Obama administration had debated, but abandoned, back door mandates over phone records and electronic communications. At that time The Director of National Intelligence advised that any opposition may well turn on a criminal act or terrorist atrocity especially if encryption had been proven to have hindered efforts by law enforcement. The Paris attacks have seen Obama pledge the sharing of intelligence between American and French authorities.
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