This week marked the 11th annualData Privacy Dayinitiative and TechRadar Pro is helping to improve data protection awareness with a series of articles exploring data privacy and how it impacts consumers and the businesses they interact with on a daily basis.
The digital privacy debate has grown larger and more urgent this year. Governments across the world have made an effort to give people more power over their personal data, from the GDPR in Europe, to theCalifornian CCPA, and new data protection laws in Brazil.
However, these restrictions have caused conflict between government agencies and technology organisations, like the US government demanding access to Facebook’s encrypted Messenger. The intelligence agencies of ‘Five Eyes’ recently called for access to encrypted information through backdoors. These ’backdoors’ would provide a means for companies and governments to bypass encryption, and access messages without a users’ knowledge.
With this pressure from governments, we have to ask what is the greater good? Should we have end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and allow people to protect their digital lives, or break that protection for everyone just to potentially stop some crimes from happening?
Some proponents who advocate access to encrypted data may seem like they have legitimate and sound concerns. They argue that governmental access is pertinent and necessary to protect against all credible threats. But is this worth the risk of weakening the protection of every single digital record that exists or will be created?
Another point that has yet to be fully grasped by legislators is that is that the encryption we use today will have to stand up to the challenges of the future. Of all the systems created, only E2EE offers the possibility of withstanding the power of quantum computing, so our communications now must be protected or risk future harm.
- This is everything you need to know about Data Privacy Day
Encryption myths and the technical impossibility of weaker E2EE
First, it’s important to realise that a lot of the confusion in the public debate is caused by lack of understanding of how E2EE works. There are many sensationalist stories which ignore the ‘nuts and bolts’ to create a dialogue of fear.
At its core, encryption is a pro
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