End to End Encryption Must End

What do we value more? Our online messaging privacy or our national security? Amber Rudd (home secretary) has told us that ‘real people’ don’t value end to end encryption like that found on ‘Whats App’, as well as remarking online companies are not doing enough to counter terrorism and hate preaching.

Messaging services such as ‘Whats App’ and ‘Facebook messenger’ have what’s called end to end encryption whereby it is almost impossible to access users conversations without their permission. Sounds good. But do we really need end to end encryption? Who do we really need to hide our messages from? It is only a small number of people that may benefit from encryption of this sort. Victims of domestic abuse perhaps, where – in the rare cases that – the perpetrators have the knowledge to hack into their victim’s messages. But for most of us – if you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve nothing to worry about…

All end to end encryption has really done is create a safe space for those who need one to operate in. We live in a digital world. The police have the powers to search any property or any person suspected of being engaged in terrorist acts, but as soon as they ask to see someones ‘Whats App’ messages they’re kicked to the floor. Powerful; yet powerless.

If we’re serious about tackling terrorism; if we’re serious about national security and if we’re serious about protecting our citizens from terror on our own streets then we need online companies to open themselves us – not to compromise our security but to improve it.