Last month Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. released a report claiming that new encrypted devices pose "a threat to law enforcement efforts" and are "a boon to dangerous criminals." His report calls for new laws to compel companies to build backdoors into the encryption used on mobile devices, but he fails to make the case.

Last week, Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote an error-laden piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that "Encrypted devices block law enforcement from collecting evidence. Period." As if the only item in the law enforcement tool box is ubiquitous surveillance, and without it no evidence can be collected.

 

 

A non-profit organization dedicated to exposing threats to digital liberties and preserving those liberties has accused Google of spying on students via the use of Chromebooks in schools. In violation of an agreement Google signed in January forbidding the harvesting of student data, it has done exactly that "for its own purposes," according to a complaint the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed with the FTC.

Windows 10 seems to be Microsoft's deliberate attempt to create the most intrusive operating system ever. If that is the goal, the software giant from Redmond, Washington, is succeeding. It seems that every new update brings the newest iteration of Windows closer and closer to giving Microsoft total control over the way users can operate their own computers. The most recent update makes that abundantly clear.

 

 

Unsurprisingly, in the wake of last week's deadly attacks in Paris, there has been an escalating demand — by those always in favor of such things — for an increase in surveillance. There has also been a call for limitations to technology that permits encrypted communications. The surveillance hawks seem to believe that liberty and security cannot coexist. Given the choice, they opt for sacrificing liberty for the sake of security.

 

 

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