US President Barack Obama’s administration will no longer pursue legislation which allows the government to legally spy on its citizens, Reuters (opens in new tab)reported on Monday.
A White House spokesperson confirmed the move, announcing a change in strategy for the US government, where it will go for a more patient approach:
"We are actively engaged with private companies to ensure they understand the public safety and national security risks that result from malicious actors’ use of their encrypted products and services," said White House spokesman Mark Stroh. "However, the administration is not seeking legislation at this time."
Stroh repeated the words of FBI director James Comey, who last week said the administration won’t be asking for a bill allowing it to peek into encrypted information.
"Changing forms of Internet communication and the use of encryption are posing real challenges to the FBI’s ability to fulfil its public safety and national security missions," Comey warned.
Since the Edward Snowden revelations, encryption has become the number one priority of many tech and communication companies. Now both Google and Apple have implemented strong encryptions in their mobile devices operating systems, Android and the iOS, a move which was seen as positive by the general public.
The US government has, on multiple occasions, said that potential terrorists might be using encryption-enabled services to plan their activities, and that it would be in the nation’s best interest if government agencies had backdoor access to such devices.