Posted on June 10, 2015 by staff

Tech Giants Hit Back at Obama


Technology industry pressure groups have sent a letter to President Obama asking him to back off demands that companies give government agencies the ability to decrypt all user data.

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) ask the President to stop the NSA from demanding that companies hand over decryption keys or require them to otherwise weaken their encryption.

The letter said: “We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool.

“Encryption is an essential asset of the global digital infrastructure, enabling security and confidentiality for transactions as well as assurances to individuals that their communications are private and information is protected.”

The letter also addressed the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

The two co-signing groups count as members of some of the largest companies in the tech and finance industries.

Among the companies in the ITIC group are Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Twitter and Yahoo among many others.

SIIA also claims more than 700 companies as members, including Barclays, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bloomberg and Accenture among many other big names.

The two groups argue that if customers knew that companies could be forced to hand over decryption keys to the government they could start looking elsewhere for their technology needs, including outside the US.

The groups wrote: “In addition to these security and trust concerns, the US policy position on encryption will send a signal to the rest of the world. Should the US government require companies to weaken encryption technology; such requirements will legitimize similar efforts by foreign governments.

“This would threaten the global marketplace as well as deprive individuals of certain liberties.”