Today Access and the Electronic Frontier Foundation partnered with 20 companies and organizations to launch a campaign to demand security and privacy in our electronic communications.
The campaign calls upon President Obama to support strong encryption and reject any attempts to weaken this vital technology.
Encryption secures our communications and transactions, protects private data, and maintains global cybersecurity. In 2015, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression found that encryption and anonymity are vital to the free exercise of basic human rights.
Over the past few years, we have seen a stream of evidence proving that intelligence agencies in the U.S., the U.K., and beyond are taking advantage of any security vulnerability to conduct intrusive, bulk surveillance of individuals. Further, it has become clear that many high-profile data breaches largely rely on failure to implement or use encryption or an alternative.
In the wrong hands, unauthorized access to data could cause people financial, emotional, or physical harm, including imprisonment or even death. Many companies and individuals have responded to these revelations and developments by utilizing more secure tools to protect against any unauthorized access.
However, some lawmakers and members of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) want to force companies to undermine its use by building in vulnerabilities, mandating disclosure of the encryption keys, or requiring technology to be built with the ability to grant third-party access. Security experts agree that this is a bad idea — any attempt to weaken encryption also enables hackers, spies, and thieves, making us all less secure and stripping us of the ability to exercise our human rights — including our rights to privacy, association, and free expression.
Sign our petition and lend your voice to the call for real digital security and safety.