Is “Responsive Encryption” even a thing?

A great response to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s speech about encryption that is worth a read.

Rosenstein’s rhetoric about “responsible encryption” encapsulates in two words a speech that repeatedly portrays encryption as a dangerous weapon used almost exclusively by wrongdoers. It portrays the tech companies that provide encrypted products and services as scofflaws[2] recklessly enabling those wrongdoers behind a fig-leaf of “absolute privacy.”


What Rosenstein is capitalizing on here is the shifting winds of public opinion, which lately have become more hostile to the giants of Silicon Valley. The whiff of regulation is in the air, and Rosenstein is cannily fanning it in the direction of the encryption debate. His speech was not truly directed at the Navy choir to which he was preaching: it was aimed at the big companies like Apple and Facebook (owner of WhatsApp) whose continuing efforts to better secure their users’ data have so infuriated Rosenstein and his colleagues in law enforcement. The message: “You wouldn’t do this the easy way, so now let’s try it the hard way.”