Winning the Crypto Wars
The arrest of a senior Facebook executive in Brazil after encrypted data sent through WhatsApp was unable to be retrieved may not just be a sign of frustration among the world’s law enforcement agencies, but a sign of the lengths they may be willing to go to break cryptography and gain access to encrypted data.
While the FBI’s legal battles with Apple may be the most high profile attempt to win the Crypto Wars, countries are adopting a variety of different measures with varying degrees of success. In Kazakhstan, the government announced a plan to force all internet users to download a certificate that would allow them to access encrypted traffic of any kind. Meanwhile in India, the world’s largest Democracy, Blackberry was forced to install a server in order to make it easier for Indian officials to access information on those devices.
Along with the United States, some governments have decided to use the legal system in order to break encrypted data. In China, it has now become law that tech companies have to work with the government in deciphering encrypted information.
While all would agree that national security is important, the worry some have is that if the FBI wins and private companies are forced by a government to write software allowing them to access a person’s phone or break encryptions, not all governments would use it responsibly. There are some that may use it to track down and silence minority groups or people who disagreed with their policy. Furthermore, it could fall into the hands of hackers, leaving everyone's information vulnerable.