The White House Chief Data Scientist assures me the White House strongly supports encryption and opposes back doors
Tuesday March 1 I had a conversation with Dr. DJ Patil, the First White House Chief Data Scientist, at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
He was interested in discussing ways in which the White House can help healthcare technology companies like mine. The first issue I raised was my concern over the FBI’s request for Apple to decrypt a suspected criminal’s iPhone.
My position in this issue is well known: weak encryption means weak security for ALL of us, so nobody can request weak security for security’s sake.
As I told Dr. Patil that built in encryption is not something that can be made weaker or stronger on a per-case basis. We either all get strong encryption or we do not. If back doors are forced onto technology products, and strong encryption is restricted, we will all suffer from it, not just the healthcare industry. Besides, expecting the user to trust a central authority is not a good idea either, as we found out from the US Government’s recent failures preventing cyber criminals from accessing confidential and private data.
To my delighted surprise, Dr. Patil completely agreed with me and assured me that the White House strongly supports encryption and opposes back doors.
He apologized for not being able to elaborate much more, since this was an ongoing court process, but I did not need any more elaboration. His words were crystal clear. Let’s hope the Obama administration remains so and actively helps us lobby against diminished security and rights.