As a result of the fundamental shift in communications services and technologies, criminal and national security investigations are unable to obtain needed evidence and intelligence despite having the legal authority to do so.
The law enforcement community often refers to their challenge in this context as “going dark.” In essence, “going dark” refers to advancements in technology that leave law enforcement and the national security community unable to obtain certain forms of evidence. In recent years, it has become synonymous with the growing use of strong default encryption available to consumers that makes it increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to access both real-time communications and stored information. The FBI has been a leading critic of this trend, arguing that law enforcement may no longer be able “to access the evidence we need to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism, even with lawful authority.” As a result, the law enforcement community has historically advocated for legislation to “ensure that we can continue to obtain electronic information and evidence pursuant to the legal authority that Congress has provided to keep America safe.”
Cryptography has emerged as a powerful tool that can help to assure the confidentiality, non-repudiability and integrity of information in transit and storage as well as to authenticate the asserted identity of individuals and computer systems. Encryption technology was traditionally deployed most widely to protect the confidentiality of military and diplomatic communication. With the advent of computer and Internet revolution and online applications as well as the recent innovations in the science of encryption, a new market for cryptographic products in E-commerce & E-Governance civilian applications has rapidly developed. Communication and E-commerce applications such as electronic mail and electronic fund transfer, which require secure means of communication, make extensive use of encryption for securing the information and authentication.