Government interference on the encryption of online communication poses a threat to human rights all over the world, Amnesty International warned in one of its briefings published about our very own tech giants Apple challenging the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in court about an order to provide software to bypass iPhone encryption.
According to Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Global Issues “Encryption is a basic prerequisite for privacy and free speech in the digital age. Banning encryption is like banning envelopes and curtains. It takes away a basic tool for keeping your private life private."
Governments trying to weaken encryption should re-think about doing so. It will only lead to flagging the online privacy and could have catastrophic consequences for free societies, especially for the journalists and human right activists who hold our leaders to account.
The briefing warns against the endeavours to make companies create a ‘backdoor’ in the encryption software. It states these steps violate international human rights law, as they are trying to destabilize the security of someone’s private data using the software.
Even though in the Apple vs FBI case, pursuing access to data to a certain phone may be legal but in order to access it the company would have to customize its software to defeat its security features. This is a risk for all the governments, as the technology companies to modify their products thereby weakening the encryption.
An open backdoor is a threat to your privacy, this opens the door for the cyber criminals making it easy for them to hack your phones and to spying governments around the world.
Undermining or banning encryption will make us all unsafe and is a threat to our privacy. Governments might be taking these steps for potential security reasons; however they fail to understand the seriousness of consequences for online security if the encryptions are undermined.