Implementing that feature wouldn’t be simple—particularly in high-definition cameras that have to write large files to an SD card at a high frequency, says Jonathan Zdziarski, an encryption and forensics expert who also works a semi-professional photographer. Integrating encryption without slowing down a camera would likely require not just new software, but new microprocessors dedicated to encrypting files with maximum efficiency, as well as security engineering talent that camera companies likely don’t yet have. He describes the process as “feasible,” but potentially expensive. “I don’t expect Nikon or Canon to know how to do this the way computer companies do. It’s a significant undertaking,” says Zdziarski. “Their first question is going to be, ‘how do we pay for that?‘”
Adding in encryption is a non-trivial undertaking. It’s one that is often done badly. And strong encryption – such that no party can access the content absent a passphrase – also has drawbacks because it you forget that phrase then you’re permanently locked out of the data. As someone who has suffered data loss for exactly that reason I’m incredibly sympathetic that the level of security proposed – opt-in strong security – is not necessarily something that most users want, nor something that most companies want to field support calls over.