Cryptowars That Could Damage The Internet

Cryptowars That Could Damage The Internet.

Maybe you are thinking that you don’t care if security agencies can read your WhatsApp discussions with your friends if it helps prevent a suicide bomber. But it isn’t just about you. Encryption is ubiquitous, needed for the basic functioning of banks, governments, businesses large and small, utilities, the military, citizen transactions and interactions, just about everything you can think of. Weaken it, and you weaken national and international security, national grids, global transactions, the world’s economies. Meanwhile, the bad guys will of course just switch to – or themselves create – something other than WhatsApp (or Signal, or iMessage, any other service forced to install a backdoor). There are thus long-standing, sound reasons why encryption backdoors have failed to get the green light any time they have been proposed in the US or EU. They can be summed up simply: if you cripple encryption, then you cripple security overall. That’s not to say legislators are impervious to eventually doing something truly catastrophic. But I wouldn’t wager that Europe will bring in backdoors any time soon. The evidence is far too strong that backdoors would be extraordinarily risky, for little payback. In addition, there’s a steep, perhaps impossible challenge of figuring out even some kind of voluntary scheme, given the way encryption services work (secret is secret). Credit: Karlin Lillington for The Irish Times.

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