Internet Giants vs Security – UPSC GS3

How can government and law enforcement agencies force companies to give away their encrypted data.
  • An iPhone used by Abu Dujana, said to be among the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s commanders in Kashmir, which fell into the hands of security forces, could be a valuable source of information for the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
  • Agency is not able to break into that phone
  • Government has sent the iPhone to the U.S., seeking assistance from its federal agencies.
  • Encryption is good as it makes internet more secure and increases consumer’s confidence in digital economy.
  • Terrorists and criminals can misuse these encrypted channels.
How India can get information from USA?
  • India has a MLAT in place with USA.
  • But, the current process of information-sharing through the India-U.S. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty suffers from almost irreparable hurdles, ranging from bureaucratic delays on both sides to inconsistencies in domestic legal standards
What is MLAT?
A mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) is an agreement between two or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public laws or criminal laws. Modern states have developed mechanisms for requesting and obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.
What is the solution?
Perhaps the solution lies in a bilateral data-sharing agreement to help the Indian government engage with Internet companies directly, rather than routing requests through the U.S. government.

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