The Justice Department and the FBI are continuing their campaign to convince the tech community and the public that weakening encryption to allow law enforcement to access encrypted communications and data has its risks, but that the drawbacks are outweighed by the security advantages.
Amy Hess, the executive assistant director of FBI's science and technology branch, said at a Christian Science Monitor discussion that allowing access to encrypted messages to anyone other than the sender or the receiver comes with "some risk" of intrusion. But because law enforcement must be able to read encrypted data and communication to do its job, the risk of third-party access is acceptable, Hess said, as long as it is minimized.
The Justice Department—and especially the FBI—has clashed with the technology community over the agency's demands that online platforms stay away from encryption practices that keep data private even from the platforms themselves. If the communications service cannot access the data sent across its servers, it cannot turn the data over to law enforcement.
Law enforcement has called on tech companies to take the lead in developing an encryption standard that is both secure and accessible to authorities upon request. Last week, FBI Director James Comey said technology experts just need to "try harder" to find a solution.