Encryption encodes messages or information in a way so that only you or authorized parties– with a password– can access it. Photos, email, text, files, or anything else you use can be encrypted and made safe and secure from others. Authorities want a key to access your encrypted files.
It’s not just the F.B.I. in the good old U.S. of A. that wants access to your encrypted files, communications, and information. Authorities are afraid that criminals, terrorists, and hackers can hide their activities behind encrypted communications and files. They can. Authorities want to ban encryption or require an accessible backdoor to encrypted files and communication on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows PC, bank accounts, businesses, and any other device with built-in encryption.
See the problem?
Australia has passed controversial laws designed to compel technology companies to grant police and security agencies access to encrypted messages.
The government says the laws, a world first, are necessary to help combat terrorism and crime.
That sounds reasonable, right? Even plausible.
What’s the problem? The encryption genie is out of the bottle. Criminals and hackers already have access to encryption methods that do not involve Apple, Microsoft, Google or other platforms, and can easily be installed on Macs, Windows PCs, iPhones and iPads, and Android devices– and governments cannot access such encrypted communications or files.
Yet, the trend toward encryption with government accessible backdoor access continues to grow. Pranav Dixit:
India Wants Tech Platforms To Break Encryption And Remove Content The Government Thinks Is “Unlawful”
Assume that all smartphones and personal computers sold by tech platforms in India had backdoor access for government authorities. What next? Criminals, hackers, and anyone else with something to hide or keep private still has access to encryption methods which would thwart attempts to gain access.
The encryption toothpaste is out of the tube.
Worse, thanks to an apparent and growing need to surveil and censor citizens, some governments want to make it difficult for social platforms to remain private.
India’s government wants to make it mandatory for platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Google to remove content it deems “unlawful” within 24 hours of notice, and create “automated tools” to “proactively identify and remove” such material.
Big Brother is watching, and encryption notwithstanding, could remove whatever information it chooses from wherever you put it.
Why? Because criminals, terrorists, and hackers need to be stopped.
Again, that seems plausible, right?
If India does work these rules into its IT law, it would have precedent: Earlier this month, Australia passed a controversial encryption bill that would require technology companies to give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications, saying that it was essential to stop terrorists and criminals who rely on secure messaging apps to communicate.
What government officials do not seem to understand is how criminals, terrorists, and hackers work. If their communications are accessible by government authorities they will move to communication options which are encrypted and cannot be broken. That means the bad guys remain safe while the good guys give governments access keys to their private information.
Governments? Nope. The bad guys simply move on to encryption they control. Good guys? Our encrypted services and files will be less safe because government authorities will have backdoor access.
As always, the bad guys.
The trend toward banning encryption or providing authorities with backdoor access is misguided and will not solve either the encryption problem or what criminals, terrorists, and hackers can do with encrypted information or communication.