State surveillance: "going dark"? Maybe not 12.2.16

Support our work: become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.

A new report based on discussions amongst "a diverse group of security and policy experts from academia, civil society, and the U.S. intelligence community" suggests that the state surveillance is unlikely to be hampered by the rise in the use of encryption to the extent claimed by law enforcement and intelligence officials.


Repeated arguments have been made in the last year-and-a-half that the adoption of encryption in communications hardware and software is leading to a loss in surveillance capabilities for the authorities: the problem of "going dark".

The report argues that the losses caused by wider use of encryption are likely to be compensated for by the surveillance possibilities offered by new interconnected technologies. James Clapper, the US Director of National Intelligence, recently told the US Senate that devices connected through the "Internet of Things" may be used for surveillance purposes. See: Intelligence chief admits Internet of Things can be used for government surveillance (alphr, link)

The report: Don't Panic. Making Progress on the "Going Dark" Debate (pdf)

See also: New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds (The New York Times, link) and The FBI's Encryption ‘Debate’ Is Going Nowhere (Motherboard, link): "It’s been a year and a half since US law enforcement agencies resumed their campaign trying to ban strong end-to-end encryption, and it’s pretty clear that the resulting “debate” is going nowhere."

Our work is only possible with your support.
Become a Friend of Statewatch from as little as £1/€1 per month.


Spotted an error? If you've spotted a problem with this page, just click once to let us know.

Report error