March 27, 2017 | Ed Johnson-Williams

Encryption must not be a dirty word. Here're 5 ways we all rely on it

Encryption keeps us safe. Politicians must not threaten to weaken it.


padlock over dataBritish politicians are again putting pressure on Internet companies to make sure the Government can access end-to-end encrypted messages. We thought we'd remind them why encryption keeps us safe and secure.

1. Our national infrastructure depends on encryption

Our power stations, transport systems, hospitals and military all rely on encryption to communicate securely. They need encryption so they can reliably send and receive accurate, trustworthy information. Without that, our national infrastructure would be immeasurably more susceptible to attacks from other countries, non-state hackers, and criminals.

2. Our economy depends on encryption

Our banks, stock exchanges, payment systems, and shops also need to be able to send and receive reliable information without criminals or foreign powers' intelligence agencies intercepting or tampering with the transaction. We need to be confident that when we pay for something our data is secure. Our economy relies on that confidence and that confidence is made possible by encryption.

3. Our free press depends on encryption

When sources contact journalists with sensitive information about MPs' expenses, the Panama papers or the Snowden files, they rely on encryption to make sure they can blow the whistle. Sources can use encrypted communications to pass evidence of corruption and abuse to journalists in a secure way. That helps keep us informed and our press free.

4. Our online security depends on encryption

Nearly every major website's web address starts with HTTPS – keeping the connection between your computer and that website encrypted. Encryption stops someone snooping on your web use and intercepting your usernames and passwords when you're in a coffee shop.

5. Our devices’ security depends on encryption

Once you’ve encrypted your laptop, tablet, or phone, if someone gets their hands on your locked or powered-off device, they would need your password to decrypt and access the data. This stops thieves from stealing your phone and then accessing your emails, contacts, and texts.

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Comments (1)

  1. Filipescu Mircea Alexandru:
    Mar 28, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    These people shouldn't even have a computer on their hands: They simply don't know what that is or how it works! What are these anti-technology fascists going to demand next, where does the ignorance and meddling stop? How did the civilized world allow these kinds of people to come into power at this day?



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