Fourteen years ago the US government, with NSA’s concurrence, ended export controls on products including strong forms of cryptography. The result was the flourishing of Internet commerce. And — at least a decade later than they should have — US companies began putting security protections into software and hardware products.
The FBI opposed the ending of cryptography controls in 2000, and it now opposes the widespread use of cryptography. But the crime-fighting agency has never really understood that the widespread use of cryptography is essential in a world for which, increasingly, the most important assets are electronic.