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Tech Firms Laud Obama's Retreat on Encrypted-Data Law

  • Apple, Google have fought government intrusion post-Snowden
  • Obama decision probably won't be last word on encryption
High End Data Cables Feed Into Servers
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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Technology-privacy advocates are praising the Obama administration’s decision not to seek new laws guaranteeing government access to encrypted information on mobile phones, computers and other devices - even as companies know the U.S. hasn’t given up on getting the data.

Neither side expects the decision, discussed in Senate testimony by FBI Director James Comey on Thursday, to be the last word in the delicate balance between protecting national security and protecting proprietary data. U.S. officials made clear they still expect cooperation from technology companies, who can be compelled to turn over some data by court order, even as Apple Inc. and other companies say they don’t want to become an arm of the government when it comes to the arduous process of extracting and turning over customer data from their servers.