Apple Inc. Protests White House Policies Which Weaken Encryption

The tech giant is one of a number of companies concerned by government policies, which it says is weakening encryption of customer data.

Two trade groups, which include some of the biggest tech companies in the U.S., delivered a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday. They asked him to reject government proposals which they say will impact encryption systems which keep customer data safe, reports Reuters.

Apple Inc. Protests White House Policies Which Weaken Encryption
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Apple and other tech giants’ letter calls for protection of encryption protocols

The letter was signed by both the Information Technology Industry Council and the Software and Information Industry Association, according to Reuters. Among the members of the groups are tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM, among others.

“We are opposed to any policy actions or measures that would undermine encryption as an available and effective tool,” reads one passage of the letter.

A similar sentiment was expressed in a note sent to Obama last month. Apple and several other tech companies asked Obama to consider the effects of proposed legislation that would affect the strength of encryption protocols used in consumer electronic devices.

Officials from security agencies have repeatedly asked private sector tech companies to install backdoors into the security infrastructure that they use on consumer devices. Such backdoors would help law enforcement officials gain access to data that could assist in criminal investigations, and they claim that tech companies such as Apple are actively restricting access to data.

Some officials have also claimed that Apple is openly advertising the idea that users of its iOS operating system are “above the law.”

Important issue for consumers

Apple is not the only company to employ high-security encryption protocols. Google and other mobile tech companies are also using techniques which are very difficult to crack, which means that the issue is becoming increasingly controversial. Apple’s iOS 8 is equipped with a lockout mechanism which Apple itself cannot break, meaning the company is incapable of decrypting user data even if law enforcement provides certified warrants.

Representatives for the technology industry maintain that encryption is a necessity for a large proportion of consumers, and should not be perceived as simply a perk. They claim that the public has become incredibly sensitive to the idea of other people snooping around their data, especially those who work for government agencies.

The issue became one of great importance in the public consciousness after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information which revealed the existence of widespread government surveillance programs.