ACLU Wants to Keep Your Phones and Software Safe From the Government


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Government requests for data and encryption back doors are becoming more and more common.

There are multiple government agencies working to keep people safe from hacking and cyber crime, but what happens when the perpetrator behind the hacking is the government?

The American Civil Liberties Union released a guide for software developers on Thursday that will teach developers how to respond to government requests and demands that compromise user security.

"The likelihood that government actors may attempt to force software makers to push out software updates that include malware designed to obtain data from targeted devices grows as more companies secure their users’ data with encryption," the ACLU warns in the guide.

The most famous example of this type of demand is when Apple and the FBI had a standoff over creating an encryption back door to the iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter.

While Apple won that fight, not every tech organization and software developer has the resources that Apple does.

As devices and software become ubiquitous in government investigations, the ACLU worries that government reach into consumer tech could reach a new level of invasiveness. If this loophole through software updates becomes reality, it could prompt tech users to stop trusting software updates and stop downloading them, which could leave them vulnerable to hacking.

So what should a concerned developer do? According to the ACLU, implement some privacy-minded policies and plan responses to government requests a head of time. And most importantly? Lawyer up.