Federal law enforcement agencies from the U.S. and several of its closest allies cosigned a statement over the weekend calling for tech manufacturers to provide law enforcement personnel a mechanism to pierce through encryption whenever necessary.

The statement "calls on technology companies to work with governments to ...embed the safety of the public in system designs, thereby enabling companies to act against illegal content and activity effectively with no reduction to safety, and facilitating the investigation and prosecution of offences and safeguarding the vulnerable," noting that encryption could potentially thwart investigations into child exploitation and other online crime.

The long-held debate pitting law enforcement against security researchers, tech companies, consumers, security vendors and companies with data to secure will soon enter its fourth decade. The statement released this weekend did not include any new arguments. But there was a new twist. In addition to being signed by law enforcement leaders of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand) the statement by two new allies "Japan" and "India" — though not any specific person from either nation.

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