Over a year after the infamous Apple v. FBI case, the encryption debate has resumed, with recent global events leading to renewed conversations about whether or not unbreakable encryption should be accessible for all people at all times. Much debate continues around the amount of access and involvement governments should have when it comes to accessing citizens’ communications and data, and breaking encryption via “backdoors” into technology.
The government of the United Kingdom is attempting to crack down on encrypted messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, in order to infiltrate the correspondence of potential terrorists who may be using the apps to communicate. However, encryption experts are concerned, raising questions about how much good a crackdown will actually do in increasing national security. If encrypted apps were to be compromised (a backdoor for the government is also a backdoor for hackers and criminals, of course), information far and wide would no longer be secure, leaving companies, individuals, and even governments at risk.
Once popular social media apps are compromised, this will also leave the door open for other startups to replace them, leading to a never ending ‘game of whack-a-mole’, according to top experts. Despite the backlash, officials from the UK, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will meet to discuss the options on the table in regards to pressing technology companies to share encrypted data with them. In the United Kingdom, fears are mounting as it has been reporting that a Conservative minister was quoted saying that if the current government is re-elected, it will move swiftly to pass decryption laws. Although no specific actions have been outlined yet, the situation brings back memories from the passing of the Investigatory Powers Bill, otherwise known as ‘Snooper’s Charter’, a mass surveillance law which hands UK officials the power to hack and collect web records, user data, and much more.
At Golden Frog, we’ve always stood for unbreakable end-to-end encryption as a means of ensuring Internet privacy, security and freedom for all people across the globe. The threats associated with breaking encrypted communications or installing “backdoors” are immense, and we will continue to fight for strong Internet security and encryption.