In a sign of what the 2016 election cycle could hold, Hillary Clinton urged Silicon Valley on Thursday to cooperate with the U.S. government in the fight against ISIS. During a speech this morning at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Clinton hinted that Silicon Valley should lower encryption standards to make it easier for American intelligence agencies to monitor communications.
“We need Silicon Valley not to view government as its adversary,” she said. “We need to challenge our best minds in the private sector and work with our best minds in the public sector to develop solutions that would both keep us safe and protect our privacy.” She continued:
We should take the concerns of law enforcement and counterterrorism professionals seriously. They have warned that impenetrable encryption may prevent them from accessing terrorist communications and preventing a future attack.
On the other hand we know there are legitimate concerns about government intrusion, network security, and creating new vulnerabilities that bad actors can and would exploit.
The question of whether American tech companies should give American intelligence agencies access to encryption backdoors has long been a point of contention in Silicon Valley. Granting that access could set a precedent for them to offer entry to Chinese, Russian, and other intelligence agencies in exchange for operating in foreign markets, and it could also scare off users who are already wary of being monitored.
The issue of ISIS and technology is likely to become a recurring one for candidates in the 2016 presidential race. During a debate this past August, Republican candidate Carly Fiorina said ISIS is using technology to harm the U.S.. And in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, suggested on Tuesday that Congress should revisit wiretapping laws to aid law enforcement.