Following Paris attacks, Google and Apple refuse to weaken encryption methods on the Internet as some state agencies worldwide suggested. A similar decision was announced by Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, and 57 more tech companies.
The request to weaken online encryption methods comes from governments, which try to prevent terror crimes before they happen by tracking criminals online. But tech companies declined to make such a compromise because, they believe, networks could be ‘exploited by the bad guys.’
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, made it clear that creating a backdoor for governments was not a good idea because it could be used by anyone including people that want to do harm. A similar view was adopted by the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC), a consortium of more than 60 major tech companies.
In a recent statement, the ITIC argued that encryption methods are crucial to prevent fraudsters from ‘draining our bank accounts’ and hackers from hacking into our cars and airplanes’ on-board digital systems. The technology is also useful to stay safe and secure while online.
The dispute over whether enhanced encryption is a good thing erupted after the Paris attacks. While governments argue that encryption prevents them from catching terrorists and other criminals, tech experts argue that encryption is essential to keep Internet and telecommunications secure.
“Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense,”
noted Dean Garfield, head of the ITIC.
End-to-end encryption methods allow only the sender and the recipient to see the content of a message that was transmitted through an untrusted environment such as the Internet. But governments complained that their intelligence’s activity was disrupted by encryption.
Early this year, several governments urged tech companies to create ‘backdoors’ or holes in their encryption software to allow them to take a look at communications. But the ITIC explained that designing backdoors to devices and software for ‘the good guys’ would provide ‘bad guys’ with an unprecedented opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in those systems, leading to financial and psychical harm.
The group also argued that a ban on encryption methods, as it was proposed by the former Prime Minister of the U.K. David Cameron, would work only against lawful Internet users, because terrorists and other criminals won’t be discouraged from using encryption software.
Google and Apple recently unveiled plans of ‘going dark’ or using encryption methods by default to all transmission via the Internet. While the two companies have strong arguments for the move, the announcement irked even more state agencies.
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