Menu
Obama wants help from tech firms to fight terrorism

Obama wants help from tech firms to fight terrorism

The use of encryption by tech companies has come under criticism from U.S. law enforcement agencies

U.S. President Barack Obama is seeking the help of tech companies to combat terror threats, which he described as entering a new phase.

Obama's remarks could put into sharp focus again the demand by law enforcement agencies for tech companies to provide ways for the government to be able to access encrypted communications.

In an address late Sunday from the Oval Office, Obama said he "would urge hi-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice."

The address comes after two attackers, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik,  killed 14 people and injured another 21 in a gun attack in a social service center in San Bernardino, California.

The government has come around to the view that it was a fundamentalist attack after Malik reportedly put up a post on Facebook claiming allegiance to the Islamic State. As the Internet erases the distance between countries, "we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people," Obama said.

The President did not, however, provide details of how the administration planned to work with the tech industry on combating terrorism. U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has previously asked for a "robust debate" on encryption of communications, saying that the technology could come in the way of his doing his job to keep people safe.

Comey, however, said in October that the U.S. administration would work on a compromise with industry rather than seek legislation to counter the encryption of communications by many technology services and product vendors.

That the Internet is seen as a key battlefield to counter terrorism was evident again on Sunday. In a statement after Obama's speech, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican from California, said that the committee would advance legislation to combat terrorists’ use of social media.

Terrorists are believed to communicate, coordinate attacks and recruit followers through social networks and other Internet services.

Royce and others introduced a bill in the House of Representatives in September to require a report from the government on U.S. strategy to combat terrorist use of social media and its effectiveness.

Tech firms and civil rights groups are opposed to the dilution of encryption, citing privacy concerns. Ever since the revelations in 2013 by Edward Snowden of wide-scale surveillance by the National Security Agency, the industry and civil rights groups have been fighting to counter demands for information, usually coupled with gag orders, which are seen to encroach on user privacy.

The bulk collection of phone data by the NSA was, for example, rolled back last month to allow for a more targeted search of the metadata.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments