Intel security group’s chief technology officer, Steve Grobman, believes cyber-security and data encryption are really just math and not a moral issue. Grobman’s comments come amid the ongoing legal battle between Apple and the FBI over an encrypted iPhone that one shooter in the San Bernardino attack used.
Encryption can’t be legislated
On Thursday when speaking at the Structure Data conference in San Francisco, Grobman said encryption is complex mathematics, and therefore, it is a difficult thing to legislate.
“At the end of the day you can’t legislate the use of math any more than you can legislate the use of gravity,” Grobman said.
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Referring to some of Intel’s previous arguments about encryption, Grobman said that if policies and regulations are created involving technology, then those will degrade it for the general public. Government demands might create pressure on companies to weaken encryption in their products, but criminals can take advantage of the technology for nefarious purposes any time.
Grobman gave an example of ransomware, which hackers can use to encrypt important corporate data and render it inaccessible for its owner. The only way to restore access is to pay a huge amount of ransom. The executive added that Intel follows the policy of not creating so-called backdoors that would make it possible for certain third parties like government agencies to covertly scan or obtain data without a user knowing.
Intel with Apple in fight against FBI
Encryption technology has come under the light due to clashing opinions about whether Apple should offer its help to federal authorities for unlocking of the device. Arguing about the issue, encryption advocates say that it is the only surefire manner in which private information remains safe from hackers and government espionage.
However, encryption has big drawbacks too. FBI director James Comey said that investigators are not able to solve major crimes and are not able to see what criminals are saying if their communications are permanently encrypted.
Nevertheless, Intel is an ardent supporter of strong encryption technology, and it has always been vocal about it. The chip maker sided with Apple in its legal battle against FBI. Last week, Intel and other major tech companies, including Google, Microsoft and Amazon, filed paperwork in Apple’s support that “opposes a government mandate to weaken security features in technology products.”