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Ron Wyden

Why government and tech can't agree about encryption

Your phone is getting better and better at protecting your privacy. But Uncle Sam isn't totally comfortable with that, because it's also complicating the work of tracking criminals and potential national-security threats.

For decades, tech companies have steadily expanded the use of encryption — a data-scrambling technology that shields information from prying eyes, whether it's sent over the Internet or stored on phones and computers. For almost as long, police and intelligence agencies have sought to poke holes in the security technology, which can thwart investigators even when they have a legal warrant for, say, possibly incriminating text messages stored on a...