The ironic battle over crypto

Bruce Schneier: Security vs. Surveillance. As the dust finally settles from the breach of the US Office of Personnel Management, in which personal information for 21.5 million Americans who were Federal employees or who had applied for security clearances with the government was stolen, I find it unbelievable that other parts of the federal government are calling for weakening cryptographic protections.

Because that’s what the call for law enforcement backdoors is. There’s a certain kind of magical thinking in law enforcement and politics that says we should be able to have things both ways—encrypt data to keep it safe from bad guys while letting us in. It doesn’t work that way. If the crypto algorithm has a secret key, it will be found. Or stolen, if OPM tells us anything about the state of security in the federal government.

I’d like a presidential candidate who calls for stronger, not weaker, encryption, and who starts by demanding it of federal software systems.