Following the London Terrorist Attack, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has once again singled out the usual scapegoat–the Internet
One more terrorist attack and again, scathing attacks against Encryption are pouring in. This time, it is the Prime Minister of United Kingdom is in the driving seat of “Control the Internet” wagon. And once again, she is wrong…DEAD WRONG!!!
“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide Internet-based services provide,” she said after a Cobra meeting.
This is by far the stoutest attack against Encryption in recent times. Theresa May went to extreme lengths by saying “enough is enough”. This is not the first nor the last time Internet has become a target of UK politicians. In the wake of Westminster Bridge attack, Home Secretary Amber Rudd heavily criticized the ‘end-to-end’ encryption provided by WhatsApp.
Honestly speaking, this has become a ritual in its own way. The only difference is, these voices keep getting louder and louder with each attack. It is fair to say that the internet has become their go-to scapegoat. If a terrorist attack takes place, launch a high-pitched, rhetoric attack against online privacy and call for “controlling” the cyberspace—all of this has become too predictable.
Do you see that green padlock on the address bar of your browser? It indicates that there is end-to-end encryption in between. The thing about encryption is that everyone on the internet uses encryption without even realizing it. When you order anything by entering your credit card details on a website, what is the guarantee that your details will not come in the hands of cyber criminals? Encryption takes care of that. From giving your login details on social media to messaging to making online transactions, everything is protected by encryption— “safe spaces” in Theresa May’s terms.
The thing is, a ban on encryption will make it all stop. Therefore, it is certainly not an option. From my point of view, the politicians need to be more aware when it comes to speaking about technology. Encryption is not something like satellite phones that you can ban whenever you want to. It is practically impossible to ban encryption as it will lead to far greater consequences.
In the past, many governments have tried to get access to encrypted data through the encryption backdoor. After the San Bernardino attacks in the US, the FBI had urged Apple to unlock the iPhone used by the terrorist, which Apple famously refused.
Opening the encryption backdoor for the Governments might sound like a promising idea at the moment, but it could open the can of worms in the future. Practically, it is like handing over the master key. If any ill-intended person somehow manages to get the hold of it, everyone’s sensitive data such as personal details, medical history, credit card details, banking details etc. could be put at an enormous amount of risk.
Another reason for the tech companies’ reluctance is because these services represent their USP. Per the tech companies, privacy is one of the main reasons why millions of people around the globe use such platforms and it is hard to argue against it.
The politicians must understand that just like other modern technology out there, encryption has made our lives much easier. Encryption is an immovable foundation of today’s Internet. Any attempt to ban or curb encryption will prove to be a disaster.
Perhaps, our modern-day politicians could understand it with a bit of education on technology!!!