Encryption Debate: 8 Things CIOs Should Know - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // Security & Risk Strategy
News
1/4/2016
11:06 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Encryption Debate: 8 Things CIOs Should Know

Governments want access to encrypted communications to prevent terrorist attacks, but IT professionals and tech vendors say any weakening of encryption is a threat to privacy and data security.
Previous
1 of 10
Next

(Image: Electronic Frontier Foundation via Wikimedia Commons)

(Image: Electronic Frontier Foundation via Wikimedia Commons)

Perhaps it's due to the recently televised presidential debates. Or perhaps it's a sign of the times in which we live. Either way, the topic of data encryption is hotter than ever.

On one side we have the pro-encryption camp that insists on maintaining encryption without backdoors or master keys of any kind. Once data is encrypted, only the sender and receiver will know what was sent. On the other side of the debate are those who believe special circumstances dictate when data can and should be decrypted through due process.

There's no doubt that valid points are made on both sides of the issue. Yet, you'll find that the majority of IT security professionals and technology companies are coming out against any method to weaken encryption standards. This obviously includes backdoors and storing encryption keys.

The US government seems to be changing its tune regarding what it is requesting from technology vendors in terms of data decryption capabilities. Until recently, federal law enforcement agencies were demanding complete backdoor access to encrypted applications. This would have given the US government the unfettered ability to decrypt data with little public oversight.

In fall 2015, the US government dropped the "backdoor" verbiage and now is requesting that technology vendors "maintain their ability to comply with state and local judges' warrants" by storing encryption keys for the government. When warrants are served that demand decryption of data on devices such as PCs, smartphones, and tablets, technology vendors would have to comply with these requests.

Many technology companies -- including Apple, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft -- have already made it clear that they don't want to create backdoors. Nor do they want to store encryption keys for the government. Their reason? It significantly decreases the effectiveness of encryption -- a critical component of an IT security posture. Businesses are under pressure to protect customer information, intellectual property, and other sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands. Handicapping encryption weakens their ability to meet that goal.

We break down the encryption debate, as it stands today. By exploring eight key factors influencing the discussion, we aim to reflect the thought processes on both sides of the debate -- and explain why the vast majority of IT professionals and technology vendors oppose altering their encryption protocols at the request of various governments around the world. Once you've reviewed these considerations, tell us what you think in the comments section below.

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Andrew has well over a decade of enterprise networking under his belt through his consulting practice, which specializes in enterprise network architectures and datacenter build-outs and prior experience at organizations such as State Farm Insurance, United Airlines and the ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 10
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Commentary
Why IT Leaders Should Make Cloud Training a Top Priority
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/14/2021
Slideshows
10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
Commentary
Lessons I've Learned From My Career in Technology
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  5/4/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll