Global Organizations, Companies Call On Governments To Stop Undermining Encryption

Almost 200 organizations, companies and individuals signed an open letter that calls on governments around the world to stop trying to pass laws and policies that undermine encryption and security on the Internet.

The signers argue that encryption and strong security in general are the cornerstone of today’s global economy. Digital businesses around the world use encryption to ensure that their customers' data, including credit card information, is not stolen, or if it is, that the attackers can’t do anything with it. As such, encryption is paramount for the trust that customers can put in companies. Without it, they may never hand over their money.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression said that, “Encryption and anonymity, and the security concepts behind them, provide the privacy and security necessary for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age.”

The people who signed that open letter also argued that encryption and other anonymizing tools are necessary to enable lawyers, journalists, whistleblowers, and organizers to communicate freely across borders. Users as well as companies should be able to use end-to-end encryption if they want to further enhance the security of their tools, without fear of reprisal from their own governments.

The group has the following five main requests:

Governments should not ban or limit any type of encryption Governments should not mandate the implementation of backdoors or other vulnerabilities in tools and servicesGovernments should not require that services are designed to allow third-party access to unencrypted data Governments should not try to undermine encryption standards or mandate insecure encryption algorithms or standardsGovernments should not compel or pressure any company to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the above requests, whether in public or in private

A more secure Internet benefits all economies and countries, and governments should take that into account before promoting the weakening of security tools to further some other goals.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. 

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Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • Aspiring techie
    Liberals regulating something that they have no business regulating always results in disaster.
  • Math Geek
    probably the most uninformed thing i have seen on this forum in a long time.

    it's the right wing conservatives that are pushing these agendas. they pushed through the patriot act post 9/11 and they just pushed through the digital version of it in the new budget here in the US. i don't think there are any liberal governments trying to pass this stuff through.

    but hey feel free to play the blame game. it's what they want you to do, so you forget to actually vote out the people calling for this loss of freedom regularly. they are good at the smoke and mirror games to keep folks from seeing what is really going on and we just love to look right where they tell us to and not peak behind the curtain.....
  • mrmez
    ...and the governments read this, and they laughed and laughed.
  • turkey3_scratch
    The sad part is the government doesn't have a clue how encryption works, at least the people talking about it. I watched most of the republican debates, and being a former web programmer, I just laughed at what they talked about. They were talking about "breaking encryption". That's not how https works at all. On encryption, there is a public key and a private key. The public key encrypts, the private key (which only the server knows) is used to decrypt (there's a bit more to it than that, but keeping it simple...). It's a new encryption key in every single communication between a client and a server, there is not some secret code that the government can find out to break encryption. The government has no access to the private key of the server which makes it impossible for them to read encrypted data, unless they literally had access to every physical server.

    Also, there's no possible way for a government to stop encryption. It all comes down to how the server and client communicate, which are out of the government's grasps. The people who own the server run it how they want, and the client's web browser, if it knows how to utilize encryption, can work with the server. The government doesn't know what they're talking about. It's just like Donald Trump who thinks he can "shut down parts of the Internet" - obviously has no idea how the Internet works, that the Internet is not run by a single company.

    Even if the government passes laws banning encryption, it won't be enforced, and there will be no way to enforce it except blowing up the millions of servers in the U.S. Encryption can never be stopped, even by laws.
  • eodeo
    Isn't it interesting that most people don't want to be spied upon and that there isn't a single serious presidential candidate that is against spying? #Democracy
  • falchard
    Rand Paul.
  • eodeo
    17305060 said:
    Rand Paul.
    He's against spying?
  • deathcall666
    Well actually in UK they passed such a law for , i believe Fb or something used for chating/speaking between ppl. Even though companies are doing this , it is sad that there is not being done , like in the case of ACTA , by normal internet users . This law is even more outrageous than ACTA as it allows a lot of power to only a small group of individuals that have acces to everything they have. The goverments will have the same power as KGB , and o really doubt that there will be any oposition after one goverment is at power. For me this sounds like a masked totalitarism behind democracy in modern age.
  • fimbulvinter
    Rand Paul.

    He said serious candidate
  • fwfa
    Sorry guys...All of the political elite are involved. There is no one side or the other when it comes to Government. The only sides that exist now are The Government and the People they rule. You notice that both sides attacked the ranchers in Oregon. Who is for all sides and you will find out. CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and Fox News are not the places to gain information. It is time to join forces and replace these elitist.

    In the US we need a Real 3rd party. One of the people, by the people, for the people. Now where have I heard that before???