Saturday, October 17, 2015

The government wants to ban encryption

From Fight For The Future:

Encryption is the basis for all privacy and security online. If your phone or laptop gets stolen, encryption is the only thing protecting your photos and personal information.

Without encryption, your credit card numbers, passwords and online accounts would be accessible to anyone. Encryption is also the only hope that leaders, activists, and journalists have for protection from government spies. It’s that big a deal.

But now, governments are threatening to ban it. Why? Because encryption makes some locks so strong, even governments can’t open them – and that lack of control freaks governments out.

Even if we wanted the FBI or local police to be able to access any seized iPhone or encrypted message in an emergency, there’s another problem: you can’t have it both ways. If the government gets a special backdoor, it’s only a matter of time before criminals figure it out, and then we’re all vulnerable. Even worse, just the process of adding the backdoor brings huge new complexities and more opportunities for mistakes – mistakes that attackers can exploit.

The worst part is, most people in government either don’t understand this or they pretend not to. They want the instant backdoor access AND the security encryption provides.

This is why we’re so worried about this. Even well-meaning politicians could make a disastrous mistake here, out of simple ignorance.

Countries around the world are watching to see what the US does. We *need* to demand a response from the White House. Can you sign the petition right now?

This is about the basic integrity of our bank accounts. It’s about protecting people from the pain of having their private photos spilled onto the Internet. But it goes even farther than that...

This past summer, my stomach turned as I read1 about vulnerabilities in over 500,000 cars (!)that let hackers disable engines and brakes, remotely, anonymously, over the cellphone network. Security researchers are barely able to keep us safe as it is; a ban on strong encryption all but guarantees catastrophic attacks.

Defending encryption has become a matter of life and death. Can you sign this petition now, to defend our basic safety in the digital age?

And there’s one more thing. This may not be important to all of you, but it’s pretty important to us. A few years back, a pretty incredible new innovation came along. It’s called “the blockchain” and it lets engineers build decentralized, free-and-open-source alternatives to centralized corporate monoliths like Paypal, Facebook, Google, Uber, or eBay. That really matters.2

But if governments ban encryption, blockchain technology (which depends on cryptography) would become impossible or illegal. The brilliant young people working on replacing Google or Facebook with something we all control could be thrown in jail, just for building a better Internet.

That’s the dark future that scares me most of all. And I want to do everything I can to prevent it from happening. But we need your help. Can you sign?

Thank you for everything you do,
– Holmes Wilson and the whole Fight for the Future team.

P.S. If this issue is important for you as it is for us, please chip in $5 right now. Not many funders get how big a deal defending crypto is, so Fight for the Future’s ability to do its best work on this issue is in your hands. That said, if you’d like to be involved in funding a larger project, or know someone who might be, be in touch.


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