The federal government has been arguing that the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino require that it be able to circumvent encryption of messages, something they have sought for a long time. A cynic might argue that they see their opportunity and are seizing it.
But let’s assume that they actually need the access to encrypted messages to combat terrorism. How can the government be monitored so that the acquired information is not used for other purposes, such as non-terror law enforcement or disclosure for political purposes?
Here is one idea. Congress should pass a law that prohibits the use of this information for any purpose other than the prevention of terrorism. The sanctions for a violation should be both criminal and civil. Moreover, an Inspector General should be given the tools to uncover any such wrongdoing.