It's patently absurd to give the federal government the keys to the kingdom, but it's also patently absurd to say that criminals should get away with it because they used encryption.
Only one is patently absurd. In the US, the decision was made at the beginning when the legal/justice system was designed. It was designed on the basis that: "it is far better that 1000 criminals go free than one innocent be wrongfully imprisoned". That concept is the corner stone of our system and spirit of it. If every "difficult balance" were viewed through this lens it would be crystal clear than the intent was that "is is far better that 1000 criminals go free than violate the rights of one innocent". Unfortunately, a lot of people are short-sighted (and I'd say spineless) and cannot accept that allowing criminals to go free is also a way of protecting the innocent. They can't see that many moves ahead and/or they fear the criminal more than the government and will sacrifice their protection from one to eliminate the other, never realizing that the government they so trust is made up of many criminals (or soon-to-be criminals).