Clinton Calls For ‘Manhattan-like Project’ To Track Terrorists Through Encrypted Data

Hillary Rodham Clinton
AP/Jacquelyn Martin

During the Democratic debate in New Hampshire, front-runner Hillary Clinton called for a “Manhattan-like project” so that law enforcement could track terrorists through encrypted communications.

Clinton was responding to a question about whether she would require tech companies to give “backdoor” access to encrypted communication. Apple has been especially aggressive about using technologies that makes it difficult for the government to spy on users, since not even Apple can read some messages (so-called “end-to-end encryption“).

While Clinton said she would not require Apple to give the government a backdoor (like the UK has proposed), she instead side-stepped the question.

“I just think there’s got to be a way, and I would hope that our tech companies would work with government to figure that out.”

The Twitter/tech community expressed a bit of confusion at this response, because, well, it isn’t clear that this is possible. One can either read encrypted communications or they can’t. If the government somehow developed technology to break encryption, it’s a strain to understand how others could not also use it.

Clinton appears to be more optimistic that there is some undiscovered solution. 


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