The Trump Administration today stated the US government does not need FISA court approval to ask for encryption backdoors to be built into software developed by the technology industry:
The US government does not need the approval of its secret surveillance court to ask a tech company to build an encryption backdoor.
The government made its remarks in July in response to questions posed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), but they were only made public this weekend.
The implication is that the government can use its legal authority to secretly ask a US-based company for technical assistance, such as building an encryption backdoor into a product, but can petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to compel the company if it refuses.
In its answers, the government said it has “not to date” needed to ask the FISC to issue an order to compel a company to backdoor or weaken its encryption.
The government would not say, however, if it’s ever asked a company to add an encryption backdoor.
Unbelievable yet unsurprising.