Sep 3, 2018

Intel alliance argues "privacy is not absolute" in push for encryption backdoors

Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

The Five Eyes, the intelligence alliance between the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, issued a statement warning they believe "privacy is not absolute" and tech companies must give law enforcement access to encrypted data or face "technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions."

Why it matters: Tech giants have been resistant to allowing backdoors in accessing criminals' data, like in the case of the FBI’s request to break into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, and the statement reignites such debate. However, Five Eyes' statement shows a united front on a global scale from the other side, and Australia is already in the process of pushing its own encryption law that would require companies to comply with law enforcement requests, or face fines for not complying.

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President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").

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What's happening: Protestors in D.C. broke one police barricade outside the White House on Sunday evening after reportedly demonstrating for several hours. The atmosphere was still largely peaceful as of 6pm ET.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Over the past couple of days, numerous advisers both inside and outside the White House have urged the president to tone down his violent rhetoric, which many worry could escalate racial tensions and hurt him politically.

Behind the scenes: The biggest source of internal concern was Trump's escalatory tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Some advisers said it could damage him severely with independent voters and suburban women.