Our internet privacy is constantly under threat. Governments around the world are asking for backdoors in encryption that will allow them access to personal information.
They claim that encryption protects criminals. But it also protects activists, dissidents, persecuted groups and ordinary citizens.
Ο Edward Snowden are among them. His first complaints to journalists were made with encryption. They made scary revelations such as the fact that millions of Americans were under massive surveillance.
"If you weaken encryption, people will die." Reported Edward Snowden. "Only this year, after the fall of the Afghan government, have we seen how critical encryption is to the security of ordinary people."
Snowden joined the Global Encryption Coalition to launch an anti-encryption campaign. The group of civil society and technology companies warns that undermining encryption will leave people more vulnerable to crime and surveillance.
"I have seen firsthand how governments can abuse the power they have to gain access to the personal data of innocent people in the name of national security," Snowden said.
"Weakening encryption would be a colossal mistake that could put thousands of lives at risk."
End-to-end encryption would make it more difficult to implement spyware like the ones Snowden uncovered - which may be one of the reasons why governments want to bypass it. This will not be the first time lawmakers have undermined citizens' privacy in the name of fighting terrorism.
Politicians claim that criminal organizations and pedophiles use encryption. But protesters also use it to avoid police surveillance, LBTQ + people in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalized and many other examples.
Journalists often rely on encryption to protect their sources.
"Now more than ever, journalists face digital threats at work and in their safety," said Lisa Dittmer, Internet Defender and Reporters Without Borders.
"Encryption plays a critical role in protecting journalists and their sources, allowing them to share information even in the most dangerous environments."
However, as the need for encryption increases, so do the efforts to weaken it. Governments from India to Australia are asking technology companies to create backdoors for their encrypted end-to-end systems. In the UK, the new regulation could make service providers criminally liable for their users' actions, especially if authorities do not have access to their encrypted data.
Their suggestions, however, could make people more vulnerable. Any backdoor in encryption can become a target for criminals. The information that governments request access to could threaten the national security as well as the privacy of any individual.
"Encryption makes us all more secure," Snowden said.
"From families protecting their children's photos to personal healthcare information, encryption keeps our personal information private."
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