3 October 2017

typing encryption computer internet online safety

How does the government keep our online activity secure without providing hiding places for criminals?

Can you make a good decision about something when you don’t understand what that thing is?

It takes real conviction to have such blind confidence in a decision you’re making, especially when you’re speaking publicly about the matter; whether that’s a good thing remains to be seen. Which is why I have to say that Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s latest comments about encryption are hard to swallow.

Understanding encryption

The challenge here is that Rudd has said that she doesn’t understand how encryption works and doesn’t need to to know how it is helping criminals.

Encryption is one of the most important technologies of the modern day. Every online function of modern life relies on it to keep our personal information, our banking, our communication, our businesses and our online shopping transactions among so many other things safe.

As a hosting provider, we’re doing all we can to keep the internet safe. We need the government on the same page when it comes to cybersecurity.

This isn’t a technology that the government need to ‘combat the use of’ as Rudd has said at the Conservative Party Conference. It’s not that simple. How do you keep people secure whist ensuring our security services can do their jobs properly?

An unenviable task

Tackling the use of the internet for terrorist and criminal activities is an unenviable task. But I have to disagree with the government’s stance on encryption. Banning this security would mean the end of the internet as we know it. I don’t think it would do much to tackle criminals online! It’s ironic really. On the one hand, we’re working hard in this country to secure data storage with the likes of GDPR and its British equivalent (The Data Protection Bill). Yet on the other, there are talks to dismantle the very foundations of what makes communicating via the internet safe.

Clearly the government’s motive is right but they would be tying both hands behind the backs of the British tech industry. The tech industry is driving innovation. Instead the government should be doing all it can to boost our digital industry.

So how do we solve it? It’s easy for us to say the government are doing it wrong. But the question remains: how do we keep the internet safe without giving hiding place to criminals? I hope that Rudd and her team reach out to businesses and technical experts. It’s the only way to really get a handle on what encryption is. They must understand the consequences of any changes before they are made.


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