The increasing value of encryption in privacy

June 10, 2014 |

It should become a matter of routine that data collected by organisations and agencies are encrypted.  Communication through cyberspace should also have such protection.  That is not the norm for many organisations. The Privacy Commissioner’s guidelines on Australian Privacy Principle 11, relating to data security, expects organisations to have appropriate data security in place.  The guidelines are not specific as to the extent of such security and its application throughout the organisation.

Itnews reports on the move to encrypt data to avoid external surveillance in Tech giants launch Reset the Net project. It is overtly political but there is a practical benefit to encryption.  While the concern may relate to governmental surveillance data breaches will have lesser impacts if data, particularly personal information is encrypted.

It provides:

A new campaign to increase internet users’ privacy and protect against warrantless mass surveillance by government agencies launched today, backed by several large internet corporations.

Reset the Net asks users and website operators to sign a pledge that requests them to take steps to prevent “illegitimate” mass surveillance.

“Don’t ask for your privacy. Take it back,” the slogan for Reset The Net urges. The effort is part of a worldwide social media campaign to “spread NSA-resistant privacy tools” to users.

The campaign suggests measures to make mass surveillance more difficult including using Secure Sockets Layer authentication and encryption, HTTP Strict Transport Security and Perfect Forward Secrecy to protect websites from easy snooping.

Individial users are encouraged to use end-to-end encryption solutions

The project is backed by several organisations who have actively campaigned against government mass surveillance and greater transparancy around it, including Google, Twitter, Mozilla, lobby group Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and others.

Greenpeace, Amnesty International and the Pirate Party are also backing the Project, along with Kim Dotcom’s recently founded Internet Party in New Zealand.

The organisations behind Reset the Net say the campaign is a direct result of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations of extensive mass surveillance by government spy agencies over the past year.

Snowden spoke through a video link at the SxSw conference in Austin in March this year, and suggested similar ‘encrypt everything’ measures to foil mass surveillance.

One Response to “The increasing value of encryption in privacy”

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