Trump officials might kill encryption, hurting WhatsApp, iMessage, and more

WhatsApp is one of many apps using encryption.

Senior members of President Donald Trump’s administration are reportedly considering the idea of banning or watering down the encryption used by scores of communication apps and services.

According to Politico, citing three sources familiar with the matter, the debate took place during a National Security Council meeting. It added that the number two officials from a few “key” agencies were present at the meeting.

More specifically, the officials debated whether they should ask Congress to “effectively outlaw” end-to-end encryption. The meeting reportedly failed to reach a decision in this regard.

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“The two paths were to either put out a statement or a general position on encryption, and [say] that they would continue to work on a solution, or to ask Congress for legislation,” a source told Politico.

Encryption is used by everyone from Apple and Facebook to Google and Telegram. The technology allows users to safely text and call others, knowing that (for the most part) their communications are private. Smartphone manufacturers and platform-holders also use encryption to protect data stored on devices.

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Proponents of an encryption ban suggest that banning it or reducing its effectiveness would allow authorities to better tackle terrorism and other crimes. But such a move would also make it easier for cyber-criminals and other governments to intercept communications and other sensitive data.

A move to ban encryption would be akin to banning door locks. Sure, that means police officers could come and go as they please in order to enforce the law, but it also means criminals can make off with your TV.

What do you think of an encryption ban? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.

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