Attorney general wants Silicon Valley to help catch terrorists who’ve ‘gone dark’

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Apple Security Jacket
Loretta Lynch wants tech companies to work with the government.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will argue that the U.S. government and the tech industry must work together to take down criminals and terrorists when she speaks at a San Francisco cybersecurity conference today.

While Lynch won’t directly refer to Apple’s current FBI standoff in her speech to tech leaders at the RSA Conference, she will describe the dangers of criminals “going dark” by using technologies such as encrypted smartphones. As such, she wants a “frank dialogue and fruitful partnership” between Washington and Silicon Valley.

“The going-dark problem is a very real threat to law enforcement’s mission to protect public safety and ensure that criminals are caught and held accountable,” Lynch will say, according to her prepared remarks. “We owe it to the victims and to the public, whose safety we must protect, to ensure we have done everything under the law to fully investigate terrorist attacks and criminal activity on American soil.”

The speech comes at a crucial time in the debate over encryption. Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergWhatsApp founder Jan Koum, Google, and other tech giants have stated their support for Apple’s pro-privacy stand.  Apple is currently engaged in a high-profile battle with the FBI, with Tim Cook defying a court order to create custom software that would unlock the iPhone of a mass murderer who killed 14 people last year in San Bernardino, California.

Yesterday, a New York magistrate judge ruled in favor of Apple in rejecting the, “government’s interpretation that the [All Writs Act] empowers a court to grant any relief not outright prohibited by law.” Although this is not the more-prominent case involving San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s device, it is a significant ruling which may help set a legal precedent in favor of user privacy.

With Apple and the FBI set to appear in front of Congress today, Loretta Lynch no doubt hopes that she can get tech companies on her side going forward.

Source: WSJ