I am hereby letting you know that last week I have on signed an open letter to Facebook coordinated by CDT, the Centre for Democracy & Technology, on behalf of our Chapter, on end-to-end encryption.
The open letter calls for strong security for massive platforms like those that Facebook controls. This comes in response to the news that the governments of the UK, US, and Australia are urging Facebook to stop pursuing their roll out of end-to-end security across the platform. In effect, they are asking for a back-door to encryption to be included in its messaging service. 112 Organisations signed in total, including the Internet Society HQ.
I have signed this letter on the basis that the UK Chapter of the Internet Society has since its inception favoured strong encryption as a key component of the Internet’s Security. We are not the only organisation holding this view. Strong encryption is a warrant for Internet User Privacy and protects personal information from falling in the wrong hands. A back-door to any encrypted system gives malicious hackers a single track forward to open Pandora’s box. Creating this single point of failure is a very bad idea indeed.
Of course, one has to weigh the advantages of strong encryption with its misuse by terrorists, paedophiles, criminals and other unlawful activities. The requests made to Facebook are based on the false assumption that this will open up a channel for illegal activity that was not already open. There already exists many types of encrypted communication system and criminals have not waited for this channel to open up. Criminal activity will just continue to happen elsewhere whilst a new channel for security weaknesses will have been opened, as the very concept of a back-door is flawed.
In August, the Chapter co-signed a A Joint Call to World Leaders for a Secure and Trusted Digital Economy
If there is interest in this, the Chapter could organise an event around this topic.
Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond
ISOC UK England Chair