Defense secretary favors strong encryption, not 'back doors'
SAN FRANCISCO - Defense Secretary Ash Carter has told a tech industry audience that strong encryption is essential to the nation's security, adding that he's "not a believer in back doors" or encryption programs that leave openings for outsiders to read coded files.
Carter said Wednesday he wasn't commenting on the FBI's legal battle with Apple over an encrypted iPhone used by a San Bernardino, California, gunman. But his views showed the complexity of the encryption debate at a time when law enforcement officials are feuding with tech companies over encryption in consumer products.
The defense secretary said the military needs strong encryption. While he didn't elaborate, Carter's remarks echoed tech experts who say that building "back doors," or keys to unlock encryption programs, will create vulnerabilities that can be abused by others.