The encryption debate is in full swing as we once again face the real challenge that governments need access to all of our data, on all devices in real-time including the ability to monitor all communications for signs of a threat to citizens and the nation.
From a policy perspective, we as consumers and citizens need to better understand the risks and exposures we might face. First of all, we are not talking about lawful access where a warrant is used to monitor the activities of a specific user or target of interest. We are talking about the open blatant use of techniques that will allow for wholesale capture and recording of all of your data transmissions.
Governments are asking that tech companies add a capability that will allow them to gain unfettered access to these servers to capture data at will and share or process this data with unknown sources including not having to provide notification to the end user. Psst some companies have already been doing this for years and just not telling you. This started in the 70s using an obscure ruling as precedent to now have all companies collect data as the “owner” of the data. It is buried in the EULA in pure legal speak that you clicked on to get access to their service.
Think about that for a second, would you like the government to monitor all of your banking transactions? What about the sexting with your spouse or significant other, or your company files stored on personal cloud storage services. Could this be used against you? Could you be charged or arrested? These are the big unknowns of such a broad data collection and history has proven that data collection schemes were used for nefarious reasons when needed by governments of questionable intentions.
We need to ask for openness on the intention of the data capture, who is impacted, what does this mean for service providers, and who it is the data being shared with. A policy framework should require that all proposed encryption schemes being recommended be peer evaluated to ensure that the design does not lead itself to backdoors, data collection, or meta data deciphering.
I would advise all citizens and business owners to learn more about this topic and get engaged in the discussion. These laws will change your life regardless if you realized it or not.
We need to have voice our concern before it is too late, in some jurisdictions it already might be. I also want to lying to stop and agencies to just come open on the topic. Just be truthful to Canadians of the data collection and when and where it is happening so we can make informed decisions to use the technology or not.
Here are some links worth checking out:
- Government recommendations for security and privacy – What is government of CA really asking for?
- Keys under door mats – What top crypto experts think of the issues at hand and potential risks
- “I have nothing to hide” – Good insight to personal privacy in the digital age
Please reach out to your MP or MPP and ask them what their stance is on the topic and what they are prepared to do to protect your privacy.