A backdoor is a vulnerability in a form of encryption that would allow anyone who found it to undermine the protections that the encryption offers. "Backdoor" is a pejorative term used by people who oppose government efforts to require tech companies to design their encryption so that they can break it. These critics argue that the only way to do this is for the companies to deliberately insert vulnerabilities—the "backdoors"—into their encryption. Backdoors can take many forms; one example is a random-number generator algorithm whose number-generation is not truly random, but rather, predictable to anyone who knows how it was designed. By predicting the number generation, it is possible to foil the encryption built on top of it.

NYPD joins push for backdoors in commercial encryption
The police department appealed to its audience's emotions in demanding guaranteed access to data.
Rep. Ted Lieu calls for Congress to investigate security flaw that puts millions of mobile users at risk
Lieu said his phone calls with elected officials as high up as President Obama could have been vulnerable.
The encryption debate explained so simply, your dog could understand it
This is about more than just terrorists and criminals. It's about you, too.
Here’s what to expect from the high-profile witnesses at the House encryption hearing
The FBI and Apple will both be there, but they'll be on separate panels.
Apple tells N.Y. judge to uphold ruling denying DOJ’s iPhone order
The tech company is still fighting iPhone battles on many fronts.
Here’s the final version of the Senate bill mandating encryption backdoors
'No entity or individual is above the law,' one of the bill's sponsors said.
Civil-liberties groups tell Obama to oppose Senate encryption bill
'It is beyond dispute that this bill would threaten the safety of billions of Internet users.'
Trade group representing tech giants slams Burr–Feinstein encryption bill
The group said the bill would 'harm national security and put Americans at risk.'
As encryption debate heats up, experts dissect Obama’s surveillance policies
One panelist called the FBI director's encryption plea 'rhetorically really masterful.'
U.S. senators behind ‘backdoor’ bill repeatedly voted for encryption funding
These lawmakers were for encryption before they were against it.
Senate bill effectively bans strong encryption
The measure is sure to face an uphill battle in Congress, where privacy activists are poised to fight back.
FBI director warns against unbreakable encryption and ‘absolute privacy’
The FBI director opened a college conference on privacy and security with timely remarks on the encryption debate.
Sen. Tom Cotton slams WhatsApp encryption as a tool for terrorists, rapists
'This is an open invitation to terrorists, drug dealers, and sexual predators.'
Americans back government hacking as long as cops tell tech companies how they did it
The public sides with Apple when it comes to disclosing vulnerabilities that let cops hack into phones.