Internet Society: Encryption is key to growing world economy

The Internet Society says perceptions around data encryption need to change in order to help build a stronger global digital economy.

The organization, which aims to ensure the internet “stays open”, believes the debate around encryption has too often centered around efforts to “thwart law enforcement”.

Internet Society CEO Kathryn Brown believes such an attitude could have hugely negative effects.

“WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE THAT ENCRYPTION IS KEY TO THE FUTURE DIGITAL ECONOMY AND STOP TREATING IT AS SIMPLY AN OBSTACLE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT.

“To undermine the positive role of encryption in the name of security could have devastating consequences,” she explained in a recent blog.

“Instead, we should recognize that encryption is key to the future digital economy and stop treating it as simply an obstacle to law enforcement.

“We need to deconstruct the issues faced by law enforcement and policy makers and agree together how we can achieve a trusted digital economy underpinned by encryption.”

The issue of impenetrable encryption has hit plenty of headlines recently due to the concerns raised by politicians that some systems may be hiding criminal activity.

UK prime minister Theresa May recently unveiled proposals that will compel organizations to limit the use of undecipherable encryption, leaving tech companies such as Apple and Google significantly unsettled, despite a lack of clarity on how they would possibly be enforced.

The Internet Society insists this stance is misguided, and has reacted by calling for “ubiquitous encryption for the internet”.

Brown outlining three key principles that need to be observed in order to “deliver economic and social prosperity”.

Firstly, as such technology is regularly used to protect infrastructure and communications, as well as the privacy and integrity of sensitive information, data encryption systems ideally need to be strengthened rather than weakened.

Securing the digital economy should also be seen as a shared responsibility that crosses borders and disciplines. Any approach to data encryption will subsequently need open and inclusive collaboration.

Finally, and perhaps most crucially of all, the rights of users should be at the heart of any decision relating to the digital economy.


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