This new draft legislation which seeks to ban ‘unbreakable’ encryption for the masses and track all their online habits puts people at risk, but not from the government, from each other.
That’s actually the part of the story that the government don’t seem to understand at all – it’s not the police or the government that are the ‘enemy’ that ordinary folks are protecting themselves from by using secure communications. They’re protecting themselves from blackmail, stalkers and other miscreants who have nothing better to do with their time than destroy small businesses and hack corporations.
The illusion that advanced criminals are just out there on the open web waiting for internet service providers to store their data providing a goldmine to the police in crime prevention is no reflection of reality. The ‘dark web’, encryption, and throwaway cell phones are the modern day equivalent of quick whispered meetings in dark alleys late at night, out of sight of the police.
All this legislation is set to do is remind criminals that they need to be smarter about how they hide because the government is taking watching them more seriously. The ones who weren’t hiding already were either lazy or stupid and probably open to detection without this new legislation. Even the most lazy now will be thinking about the issue.
Meanwhile ordinary citizens, doing nothing wrong, are open to their data being collected on massive scale. Don’t forget that the police, well humans generally, have a habit of taking bribes from the tabloid media, criminal groups, and private investigators and leaking things that they had access to in an official capacity. Throwing a limitless amount of information within reach, even without considering the risk of all the data actually being hacked, is a reckless move that offers little benefit to public security or safety.
When a citizen protects their information with encryption they aren’t covering up for a crime. How many people are criminals involved in sophisticated online crime, after all, versus how many are simply seeking basic privacy in their day to day activities? The enemy here isn’t the government or the police (except when bribery is involved, of course), but the massive insecurity people will be exposed to if they aren’t allowed to protect themselves.
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