As law enforcement and their friendly politicians have used the attacks in San Bernardino to renew a call to undermine and break encryption, the mainstream press has been an easy target for politicians looking to get out whatever message they want. Take, for example, the following set of stories that popped up for me in a simple Google News search:
Note that the first story — the one claiming the San Bernardino attackers had encryption actually came out before the second story saying they did not. Incredibly, if you read the full text of both stories, neither fully agrees with its own headline. The ABC story is ridiculously vague:
The couple who launched the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, last week had devices with some form of encryption, making it difficult for authorities to access all potential information on phones and perhaps other devices, two senior U.S. officials told ABC News.
“Some of their digital media we have been able to exploit. Some of it we have not,” one official said.
The story at The Hill that claims there’s “no evidence” instead has lots of quotes from people suggesting that they just haven’t found it yet, and Senator Richard Burr saying it doesn’t matter because “we’ve still got a big problem out there that we’re going to have to deal with and it’s called encryption.” This is the same Richard Burr who, just a couple of months ago, was warning about the dangers of “cyber” attacks in pushing CISA. Does he not realize that…