Encryption: Friend or Foe?
At i3 Business Solutions risk mitigation and security management are paramount to everything we do. The challenge of managing encryption from both a practical and performance standpoint remains the universal challenge. Technology marches on as new solutions innovate.
A recent article on Friday, July 10, 2015 - THE CODER WHO ENCRYPTED YOUR TEXTS – is a fascinating read on both personality and technology. You may have to find the print version as many can’t access the online article.
Encryption is getting easier and to use and more complicated to crack.
Encryption is the process when information, whatever it may be, is disguised so only the sender or receiver can understand the message. The information can still be seized by a third party, however, they will be unable to decode the message. Encryption affects privacy which has been hotly debated in recent years as technology marches on and the government and other companies are able to get a better idea of who we are as individuals.
In Recent News
Within recent months, there have been more discussions regarding the use of encryption over the internet. UK’s David Cameron, Prime Minister, would like to ban strong encryption. The reasoning behind it: terrorists are able to freely communicate and plan over the internet. Without strong encryption, they could still plan, but government officials would be able to more easily discover such plans. The solution: instead of difficult encryption, backdoors are created in the messages or information allowing the government to see what is going on. The fatal flaw to that solution, however, is that criminals could potentially be able to access the information and misuse it.
In the midst of this discussion and debate, the Washington Post announced that they are the first to encrypt their readers’ history. They are marketing the switch as an added security bonus for readers. Encryption will eventually cover the entire website, however, for now it covers the homepage, national security page and technology policy blog. What a person chooses to read reveals a huge part of who they are – so they want to protect that. They expect that they will lose some advertising revenue because now customized ads tailored to the customer’s habits will be nearly impossible.
On Monday, July 6th, James Comey Jr., director of the FBI, made claims similar to Cameron’s in a blog article. He agrees that the encryption should be weakened so that the government can continue to monitor and be alerted to suspicious and terroristic like behavior. The Islamic State uses the internet frequently, specifically Twitter, to recruit disheartened Americans and coordinate attacks. Comey highlighted the 4th amendment and how it authorizes the government to reasonable search and seizure. With such strong encryption, it makes the government’s job next to impossible to try to monitor and keep Americans safe.
There are major implications no matter what side you are on. First, the internet enables criminals and terrorists to plan and follow through with terrible wrongdoings. With terrorism for example, international borders disappear as a common hatred is discovered and fueled. The internet serves as a connector. Encryption by allowing the people to “go dark” aids other crimes such as kidnapping, sex trafficking, and child pornography.
However, there is a big drawback of loosening encryption in hope of strengthening the government’s ability to identify, discover and weaken potential threats or criminal activities. With looser encryption, not only will the government be able to access people’s personal files and data, but then hackers will also be able to access private information.
With the speed of technological advances, who knows, someone is probably working on an answer to solve this problem while maintaining a standard of privacy. It may not be available now, but how long before the technology is available? Or will people have to compromise a level of personal privacy for the greater good?
Concerned about the integrity of your data? Contact i3 Business Solutions about encrypting everything.
Mike Ritsema President Abigail Worth Marketing Assistant