Measuring the ‘Darkness’ of ‘Going Dark’

Just how dark is law enforcement going?

Ryan Hagemann
Apr 4, 2016 · 9 min read
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  1. Even if you accept that the AWR is not a good indicator of how pronounced the “going dark” problem is, surely the transparency reports from social media providers like Google, Facebook, and Twitter make a solid case that law enforcement has numerous other streams of digital data available for the investigation and prosecution of criminal activity. And if not, well the onus is on the FBI and DOJ to make the case that encryption is a problem frustrating investigations; present evidence, not anecdotes.
  2. We live in a “golden age of surveillance,” and most streams of data, especially from social media providers, were not available to law enforcement agents a mere decade ago. Going back further, there was a time when the government didn’t have access to wiretap intercepts because there were no phones. Technology is constantly evolving; so too are the tools with which law enforcement can exercise its investigatory powers.
  3. Finally, perhaps the problem is not that law enforcement is “going dark,” but that its extremely limited time, energy, and resources are being devoted to the enterprise of prosecuting the clearly failed war on drugs. If policymakers were to redirect all the resources currently being expended by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to fight nonviolent drug offenses towards true threats to the public safety, perhaps we would not be embroiled in the Second Crypto War.

Niskanen Center

The Niskanen Center is a libertarian advocacy organization…

Ryan Hagemann

Written by

Director of Technology Policy at the Niskanen Center. Techno-optimism and political pragmatism will make a better world.

Niskanen Center

The Niskanen Center is a libertarian advocacy organization that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process

Ryan Hagemann

Written by

Director of Technology Policy at the Niskanen Center. Techno-optimism and political pragmatism will make a better world.

Niskanen Center

The Niskanen Center is a libertarian advocacy organization that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process

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