Cindy Cohn says she’s tired of having the same conversation about encryption.
That might be why Cohn, the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, made frank and impassioned comments throughout a debate held Wednesday between her and Daniel Rosenthal, the former director of counterterrorism at the White House who currently works at investigative firm Kroll.
“You’re dumbing down everyone’s security,” Cohn said, if you’re letting the government access encrypted data. The debate took place during the Versus16 conference in San Francisco put on by cybersecurity firm Vera.
Encrypted data is scrambled up so only the intended recipient can read it. It’s also a controversial political issue. Privacy advocates and cybersecurity experts agree that encryption prevents the theft of data and keeps government surveillance in check.