Encryption is under attack. In liberal democracies, elected leaders are giving lip service to our right to privacy—while seeking to create a system where they can scan any data we send over the internet.
Earlier this month, the U.K. Home Office spent public money on a high-priced ad campaign that bad-mouthed encryption, portraying it as a tool used by criminals. In the U.S., a Senate committee is about to vote on the dangerous “EARN IT” Act, which could lead to widespread scanning of private messages and photos. In both countries, the excuse is the same: lawmakers say they need to get into our messages so they can prevent crimes against children.
The public is wise to this. We know that encryption is necessary for defending everyone’s privacy and security online. Government officials can’t be allowed to treat basic security measures as evidence of a crime.
EFF has joined with cybersecurity experts and human rights activists around the world to push back against the scaremongering tactics being used by the U.K. government, in a letter signed by more than 50 groups and security experts.
“Anti-encryption policies threaten the fundamental human right to freedom of expression,” the letter states. “Compromising encryption would undermine investigative journalism that exposes corruption and criminality… even message scanning creates serious security and privacy risks for all society, while the assistance it can provide for law enforcement is at best problematic.”
The entire letter can be read here.
If you are a U.S. resident, we need your help to defend encryption against the EARN IT Act right away. We expect a Senate committee to vote on this bill on Thursday.
By Joe Mullin