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Top U.S. officials divided over encryption

The ongoing battle between Apple and the U.S. Department of Justice is exposing differences of opinion among top advisors to the U.S. president about how to deal with the broader questions of encryption, according to an article in the New York Times on March 5.


In a statement released on March 4, the White House said, “The United States government firmly supports the development and robust adoption of strong encryption, which is a key tool to secure commerce and trade, safeguard private information, promote free expression and association.

“At the same time, encryption poses a grave challenge for our national security and law enforcement professionals.”

The New York Times reports that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation testified last week, in Congress, about the need for some kind of government action that would guarantee access to law enforcement, no matter how encryption technology evolves.

Less than a day later, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, speaking at an annual computer security conference in San Francisco, struck a very different tone. “Data security, including encryption, is absolutely essential” to the Pentagon, he said.

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