Tech companies want Obama to protect data encryption

Two US associations from the tech industry have written an open letter to US president Barack Obama, showing their concerns about US policies regarding data encryption.

The Information Technology Industry Council and the Software & Information Industry Association sent the letter to president Obama on Monday, saying they would find it unacceptable for the US to follow a strategy that would limit or prevent proper data security.

"We urge you not to pursue any policy or proposal that would require or encourage companies to weaken these technologies, including the weakening of encryption or creating encryption 'work-arounds,'" the organizations wrote. "We appreciate that, where appropriate, law enforcement has the legitimate need for certain information to combat crime and threats. However, mandating the weakening of encryption or encryption 'work-arounds' is not the way to address this need."

The data encryption and privacy is an issue in which technology companies and the government can’t seem to agree on. The government believes encrypting the data and blocking all backdoors could facilitate criminal activity and hinder investigations.

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has criticised the tech companies encrypting the data, with a senior official telling Apple that, without access to a suspect’s phone, a child could die in cases such as kidnapping.

“New encryption technology that renders locked smartphones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy,” he said.

The tech companies, on the other hand, believe users have the right to privacy.

"We believe that people have a fundamental right to privacy," he said. "The American people demand it, the Constitution demands it, morality demands it”, said Apple’s CEO Tim Cook last week at an event hosted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.