Weakened Encryption Means Anyone Can Break It

In the real world, locks are imperfect. Anyone with skills can pick a lock.

If made right, encryption is a perfect lock. No one can break it without the key.

But if you weaken encryption, then you don’t need the key anymore, and it becomes the same as physical locks; criminals can break it, not just the government.

Notice that Enigma’s flaw, a letter cannot become itself, was minor. Yet it was enough for Alan Turing to break it. Criminals have the same capability now that Alan Turing did then.

But it gets worse.

“Legitimate use” by the government always turns into abuse by either them and/or thieves.

Encryption Is a Necessity for National Security

[M]andating backdoors to end-to-end encryption puts your own high-tech industrial secrets at high risk from nation-state adversaries. It puts a huge target on that backdoor with very high payoff if you manage to compromise it, provides for very high rewards for any insider who can be bribed into leaking information enabling the use of the backdoor, or huge risk for the family of any insider who could be coerced into leaking such information.

mhandley on Hacker News

Police Can Get Around Encryption With Warrants

Governments will complain that encryption prevents them from investigating and prosecuting child abuse, terrorism, etc.

This is false. All they need to do is get a warrant for a suspect’s device, and that device will have the unencrypted material on it.

So police have a way to target specific people already. What they really want is dragnet surveillance because they are lazy.

But privacy is more than catering to the laziness of police.

Everyone Has Something to Hide

Like your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, other information that must be confidential from thieves.

Do you see the green padlock to the left of the search bar above? That is there because this webpage uses encryption. Most webpages do.

It may not matter for this page, but when you are using your bank’s website, anyone could see your bank info if that encryption was not there. The same thing goes for shopping and paying with credit cards.

Kids Need Encryption

Imagine a world where there is no encryption. How do you exchange messages with your child without others knowing where they are?

There isn’t any way. In other words, without encryption, your child is less safe.

Kids need encryption.

Removing Encryption Would Make Little Difference to Child Abuse

Interpol investigator Mick Moran said,

Just as 85 per cent of child sexual abuse takes place in the family home or in the family circle, where do you think 85 per cent of our images are coming from? They’re coming from the family home.

So encryption would only help in a max of 15 percent of cases, probably less because there would probably be grooming by other adults in real life.

Encryption Stops Abuse by Companies

Google was fined $170 million for violating children’s privacy on YouTube.

Companies will use the data they have on kids to target them and manipulate them, even damage their mental health.

Kids need privacy from predatory companies too.

Criminals Would Use Encryption Anyway

Criminals are criminals: they will break the law. If they have to break laws against encryption, they will, especially if it keeps them from being caught.

What Can Parents Do?

Be involved.

Be involved in your children’s lives. Know what is going on. Listen to them.

Restrict online activity.

Only allow certain kinds of online activity.

Limit online activity.

Don’t just let your children spend unlimited amounts of time online.

In fact, if possible, don’t let them online at all!

Check for Astroturfing

If an anti-encryption website appears to be grassroots, be sure to check the funding.

For example, Don’t Give Child Sex Abusers a Place to Hide has this note at the bottom:

The campaign is funded by the UK Government.

No Place to Hide for Politicians

Politicians, what do you think you are doing? Do you think the lack of encryption won’t hurt you?

If there is no encryption, then either you will have it and raise suspicion, or people will get a hold of your communications and raise scandals.

Lack of encryption will hurt you too.

Lack of encryption hurts everyone, but it hurts children and law-abiding citizens most.