End-to-end encryption continues to be a hot topic politically and with law enforcement. The law wants the option to search smartphones for evidence in an investigation. But the makers of popular smartphones bake protections into operating systems so that our data is kept safe, even from law enforcement.
But not everyone thinks they should be able to be protected and believe a backdoor should be included on the devices for the purposes of law enforcement. The United States is considering banning end-to-end encryption for this reason. Do you think end-to-end encryption should be banned?
Miguel thinks banning end-to-end encryption “would be impossible, as you can always skirt the definition by law.” Yet, even if it were banned, it would just about guarantee that systems and networks would be more vulnerable to attacks. He doesn’t feel it’s “worth sacrificing the integrity and intimacy that E2E encryption creates” because some people take advantage of it for illegal, immoral, or other similar activities.
Phil compares banning encryption so that illegal activities can be more easily detected to “banning locks on the front doors of everyone’s homes so that police can just walk into any house they please.” He sees it as illogical and notes that wrong-doing is detected by police work and not open access. He believes the same rules should apply on the Internet as they do in real life with privacy and policing.
Sayak notes that end-to-end encryption isn’t limited to just one geographical area, as there are many working on the technology, with many U.S.-based cloud services hosting their encryption data in Europe and Asia.
While you can force Apple to change their E2EE provider and restrict the data flow to the United States, he predicts that it would mean going back to old Internet access algorithms that were unencrypted, perfectly hackable, and not secure. “The problem is transnational, as it would impinge on the sovereign rights of other countries.”
Alex compares banning encryption to banning secrets. “Secrets aren’t the problem — criminal activity is the problem.” Financial markets and e-commerce wouldn’t be able to function without encryption, and all computer systems would become less secure, which would make it easier for hackers to steal money, as well as identities.
“A digitally-mediated society like ours cannot function without encryption, and anyone who suggests banning it immediately reveals themselves as a person who doesn’t understand the situation at all.” He sees banning encryption just to make law enforcement’s job easier, “monumentally foolish and myopic.”
Damien notes that just because the criminals are using end-to-end encryption, the government wants to ban it for everyone. He doesn’t think it will even deter the criminal. “So why is everyone being ‘punished’ for a law that will have no effect?”
I see no purpose for it. Bluntly, why should I have a less secure phone just because criminals choose to use secure phones?
Our writers seem to all be on the same page and do not see a point in punishing everyone just because of criminal use of the same phones. Do you agree? Tell us in a comment what you think!