What the Government Wants with Encryption

There has been some confusion created by the controversy over the use of encryption and the creation of backdoors for government and law enforcement use. We hope that this post will help clear up what’s really going on. The government does not actually hate encryption, as some might believe – they use it all the time. What they actually want is for encryption to be available to only a few (themselves included) so that they can reap the benefits of security while being able to spy on everyone else.

Who Uses Strong Encryption?

The strong encryption that some lawmakers have been insisting is encouraging terrorism and frustrating law enforcement’s attempts to nip attacks in the bud is the same strong encryption that is being used by government departments. The government uses and requires encryption because they know that encrypting data can preserve national security. There are even laws that protect organizations that use encryption. And more are n the works, like the Data Security Act of 2015 that extends the obligation of companies to encrypt sensitive data also when it is being sent over the Internet, for instance, and while it is being stored on servers or devices. This means that organizations will soon be required to use VPNs or similar tools along with data encryption systems on all storage whether on or offline. It is interesting to note that the government has also been battling against VPNs because they are encryption tools.

Data breaches have become a plague not only in the US but all around the world, and data encryption can save governments a lot of headache. This is why there is a section in the Safe Harbor regulation that goes along with the strict privacy laws and breach notification requirements that have been put in place to protect data. Organizations that employ encryption can be cleared of any and all liability in the event of a data breach because it is understood that they have done their part to secure that data. This means that the government has a lot of confidence in encryption as the tool for securing data.

Not only government offices but even some businesses are actually required by our brave leaders to use strong encryption to protect trade secrets and other information. The requirement is there under data regulatory fundamentals because encryption is the best way to protect data from falling into the wrong hands. Government agencies and private companies that handle sensitive personal information must use encryption or face harsh penalties. The Safe Harbor exemption is also there to motivate more organizations to employ this wonderful tool of encryption.

So Why is the Government Fighting against Encryption?

It really can be confusing to try and put together the government’s stance regarding encryption and backdoor access when we have clearly seen how they trust and use encryption. How can they charge companies huge fines for not properly encrypting consumer data and then turn around and say that backdoors must be created so they can access the very same data? Proper encryption means not having any holes like backdoors that can allow unauthorized access. It really makes no sense – unless we agree that the government is implying the condition that they are not to be held by the same standards.

So, all organizations should use encryption to avoid harsh penalties but let government and law enforcement break the encryption when they want. Individuals can use encryption if they want, but the government still wants access to any data that is shared or stored with any of these organizations. Note again here that the government is also moving to grab any data that is encrypted by means other than the organization’s systems, such as VPNs. As companies, many VPN providers have also been pressured for years to share any user logs that they might have with the government. Encryption has been used by these and other companies like Apple to further protect their users and maintain their confidence. And as these companies have moved to secure as much user data as possible, the government has moved again, so they are basically going to demand backdoor access to anything that is hidden from them. The government is behaving as if they have the right to access everything but that individuals have to right to protect their data or their privacy.

The Bottom Line

The US government, like many other governments not only in the East but in the “free” West as well, want to control encryption. They may not be so much attempting to control the flow of information, but they are definitely trying to control who can and cannot protect their data and privacy. If these are protected by law, then individuals logically have the right to take their own, legal steps to protect them. Yet the government is so greedy to see and know all that it is ignoring the rule of law and logic and continuing to push for a ridiculous situation where encryption will be either rendered useless or be available to only those the government chooses.

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