Deputy AG Rosenstein argues against “warrant-proof” encryption.
Deputy AG Rosenstein argues against “warrant-proof” encryption.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein called for tech companies to use “responsible encryption” to allow police to access data when a judge determines that compelling law enforcement concerns outweigh the privacy interests of a particular user at the Global Cyber Security Summit in London.

Rosenstein argues that “warrant-proof” encryption places zero value on law enforcement and leaves evidence unavailable to the police, no matter how great the harm to victims and that tech companies, according to the Oct. 13 Justice Department  release.

Tech companies frustrating law enforcements efforts to collect evidence needed to protect public safety and solve crimes by actively designing their products to defeat investigation efforts.

The Deputy AG said instant-messaging services encrypting messages by default and smartphone manufacturers making a conscious decision to engineer phones to eliminate the capability to recover data stored on the devices allow terrorists and criminals to communicate covertly without fear of detection.

“Responsible encryption systems already exist,” Rosenstein said. “Examples include the central management of security keys and operating system updates; the scanning of e-mails for advertising purposes; the simulcast of messages to multiple destinations at once; and key recovery when a user forgets a password.”

He said these functions aren't stigmatized as backdoors and are marketed and sought out by users and that tech companies should be open to arrangements in which providers retain the capability to make sure evidence of crimes can be accessed when appropriate, without the government holding the keys or requiring every company to use the same means.