That’s the position of FBI Director Christopher Wray.
To put it mildly, this [mobile device encryption] is a huge, huge problem. It impacts investigations across the board.
Certainly, consumer-done encryption of our communications devices can temporarily hinder investigations of the criminals who also use this encryption. But as the FBI demonstrated regarding an encrypted cell phone involved in the San Bernardino terrorist attack, its initial claims notwithstanding, the encryption can be broken without the cooperation of the device’s owner.
Every tool can be misused. The problem is not the misuse of the tool but government efforts to apply one-size-fits-all solutions to the misuse that end up harming all the rest of us more than the bad guys.
The FBI’s continued demand for a “government-mandated backdoor” that the government’s agents can use whenever they take a notion puts a premium on the encryption side of the question. Think Government wouldn’t misbehave? Ask anyone on the right about the behavior of the Obama administration. Ask anyone on the left about the behavior of the Trump administration.
It’s always going to be an arms race between the good guys and the bad guys. It’s a critical arms race, though, when it’s our own government that wants to pry into all of our private communications because a few of us are bad guys.