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.