End-to-End Encryption More Essential Than Ever

22 Apr

don’t ever take end-to-end encryption for granted – ever

It would seem as if the more we communicate and share information on digital platforms, the more interested governments become in what we have to say (and share).

Over 2 billion users on WhatsApp have sent in excess of 100 trillion messages over the last twelve years. It’s astounding then to think that the roll-out of end-to-end encryption was only completed in 2015 – six years after the messaging platforms initial release. Many users simply assumed that their communications were secure from the get-go.

With end-to-end encryption now almost a global ‘norm’, and an expectation when using a messaging service or mobile platform, it would appear that there are rumblings afoot to take it away from us. Surprisingly, it’s not the hackers trying to get into our private conversations this time (although they are always hard at work doing just that); it’s world governments!

how world governments have responded to end-to-end encryption

Many believe that the reaction and actions of world governments in response to the effectiveness of end-to-end encryption is essentially threatening our freedom.

In this modern world of technology and interconnection, people have a tendency to assume that their conversations are private and encrypted, protected from the prying eye of governments and cybercriminals. And so they should be! However, it would seem that elected officials across the world think otherwise.

Here’s a round-up of  the type of action governments are considering:

  • Brazil

In Brazil, the Supreme Court is in deliberations over whether to deny their citizens of end-to-end encrypted messaging services.

  • India

Top regulators in India have released new laws for messaging services allowing governments to access private conversations if required.

  • Europe

Officials in Europe are pushing for companies to implement methods to undermine their own encryption settings and access sensitive private conversations on demand.

what does life without end-to-end encryption look like?

Given our reliance on global communication, the impact of life without end-to-end encryption is a real fear. Confidential communication and privacy make it possible for doctors to consult remotely, for medical records to be shared or for journalists to have a sense of protection. The reality though is that in many parts of the world people already live in fear that their networks are being used by authoritarian governments to spy on them.

On the flip side, end-to-end encryption makes it harder for “criminals” to be caught when plotting and scheming. Harder for law enforcement to find evidence of a crime. Perhaps the argument, which should not be seen in isolation, has some merit to limit end-to-end encryption as a way of keeping us safe.

There are countries where end-to-end encryption will never be the norm. China is one such example with their most popular (and permitted) messenger service existing with built-in measures to monitor and flag any “inappropriate” conversations. The internet service in China is similar, limiting what citizens can do online.

Of course, there’s always a way around things and some citizens remedy their lack of privacy by talking in code, using emojis, or using animated GIFs. It’s sad to think that people have been pushed to the point of deceitfulness in the way they communicate simply because of government interference and the lack of the right to privacy and data security.

last word

South Africa is as yet to respond on any action that they might take to limit end-to-end encryption. Here at Soteria Cloud, we’re all for encryption which is why we offer 256-bit encryption with our backup packages for business and home. We’d love to hear what you think about the current end-to-end encryption debacle, so share your views and thoughts with us!

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