“Yes!” To Encryption

“Yes!” To Encryption

Yesterday Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, publicly refuted the US government’s pressure to build backdoors so that they can break into encrypted communication.

Next to the US, several other governments are currently trying to outlaw encryption. So does UK’s Investigatory Powers Bills, Swiss Nachrichtendienstgesetz, and several hints between the lines of Austria’s Staatsschutzgesetz.

The debate has reached a point where even Silicon Valley giants like Google, Facebook or Yahoo – normally not known as privacy advocates – openly oppose the attempts to outlaw or break encryption. Whether or not their new position is merely a PR strategy – it helps to raise awareness and puts more pressure on the companies to commit to their own claims of protecting their users’ privacy.

To me, this is an important turning point in the debate of peoples’ right for online privacy, with not just European providers, but also US tech giants on the same page.

That tech experts from all over the world defend the right for encryption underlines the lack of understanding among many politicians, on what encryption technically means and how crucial it is for the world economy and ecosystem of the internet. Any order to add backdoors into end-to-end-encrypted systems is a bad idea, as it would dramatically undermine global cybersecurity and threaten fundamental citizen rights worldwide. It is not possible, to disable or undo encryption for individual occasions without jeopardizing the security of the whole system.

In an earlier blogpost, I explain the objective technical reasons why outlawing encryption is both irrational and dangerous.

Those who want to protect their information have to use end-to-end encrypted services. End-to-end-encryption is the only method that cannot be broken by law or hackers. It is physically impossible to access a users’ end-to-end encrypted data without his/her explicit authorization. This means not even the online service provider can ever access his private information.

So here’s my definite “Yes!” to encryption.