(Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama’s Oval Office speechon combating ISIS included a plea for "high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice." Hours earlier, Hillary Clinton gave her own speech urging Silicon Valley's "disrupters" to get to work disrupting the terrorist organization. Neither provided any details—a tacit acknowledgment that it's much easier to make a broad call for technological action against terrorism than it is to navigate the messy specifics that would follow.

Since former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden exposed widespread government spying on Americans in 2013, U.S. tech companies have increasingly relied on encryption technology that prevents anyone but a specific user to access private information. On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that "the president believes in the importance of strong encryption, but at the same time, as the president mentioned last night, we don’t want terrorists to have a safe haven in cyberspace." Earnest seemed to be suggesting that there's a middle ground between the two sides in the debate over encryption. But after months of conversations between the government and Silicon Valley, no such compromise has emerged—and probably won't.

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