Index calls on governments to ensure encrypted tools are available to public

Index joined 52 other civil society organisations as well as private companies and security researchers in calling on governments to allow technology companies to offer strong encryption tools such as Signal or WhatsApp to the public.

The statement highlights the dangers to the security and privacy of billions of internet users around the world, should governments enforce the removal of end-to-end encryption protection on consumer messaging services, which are often used by journalists on assignments. It also points out that building “back doors” just for “good actors” is not possible.

According to the letter sent to US, British and Australian ministers: “Technology companies could not give governments back door access to encrypted communications without also weakening the security of critical infrastructure, and the devices and services upon which the national security and intelligence communities themselves rely.”

The letter goes on to describe the numerous problems critical national infrastructure, industry, businesses and private individuals would face if such ‘backdoor access’ was granted.

The appeal comes as a response to a joint letter by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, and her US and Australian counterparts in October, and following a United States Department of Justice event describing encrypted communications tools as ‘lawless spaces’.

The full sourced statement, and list of signatories can be found here:

OpenNet Initiative

The OpenNet Initiative aims to investigate, expose and analyze Internet filtering and surveillance practices in a credible and non-partisan fashion. It intends to uncover the potential pitfalls and unintended consequences of these practices, and thus help to inform better public policy and advocacy work in this area.