The controversial Burr-Feinstein bill, if passed, would essentially force companies to decrypt customer’s data at the request of a court. It raises questions of security and privacy, and has thus far been fairly unpopular. Apple and co. labeled the proposal “well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable,” worrying that any kind of built-in access could “be exploited by bad actors.” This reiterates the well-worn stance that creating a back door for the government is a dangerous, slippery slope.
The open letter is available to read in full, but for quicker taste of the tone, this paragraph summarizes the intentions of the RGS pretty well:
“We write to express our deep concerns about well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm. We believe it is critical to the safety of the nation’s, and the world’s, information technology infrastructure for us all to avoid actions that will create government-mandated security vulnerabilities in our encryption systems.”
Despite the anticlimactic end of the case surrounding the San Bernardino iPhone, it seems the encryption war is far from over. The open letter, directed at the Senators responsible for the proposal, was co-authored by companies including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook. It’s hardly a surprise that most of the tech industry is pro-encryption, but the level of support could cause the government to think twice before imposing such a bill.