Cybersecurity Advisors Network (CyAN) is a signatory of an open letter about the UK Home Office plans to force technology companies to remove the privacy and security of popular encrypted communication services such as Signal or WhatsApp. Other signatories include dozens of cybersecurity experts and human rights activists. The letter is published on Open Rights Group’s website and is accessible here.
Encryption is an essential element for the security and privacy of the digital environment, and shall not be undermined. As it is described in the letter: “even message scanning “creates serious security and privacy risks for all society while the assistance it can provide for law enforcement is at best problematic.” Backdoors create an entry point for hostile states, criminals and terrorists to gain access to highly sensitive information. Weakening encryption negatively impacts the global Internet and means our private messages, sensitive banking information, personal photographs and privacy would be undermined”
Members of the Cybersecurity Advisors Network (CyAN) are diverse and include technology specialists, lawyers, policy officers, some with law enforcement experience and involvement in the fight against child sexual abuse online. They are equally concerned by the weakening of encryption and by the capacity of criminals to abuse children online. To find the right balance, dialogue and public oversight should be preferred to government-funded campaigns aimed at influencing the general public against encryption. The foundational work of the OECD on cryptography and the search for the right balance under the rule of law led by the Council of Europe in the context of the Cybercrime convention are examples of public, fair and open processes to make our digital environment safer.