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Kyle

Is end to end encryption bad?

Should there be a 'back door' of some form, to secure messaging services?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Should there be a 'back door' of some form, to secure messaging services?

    • Yes
      0
    • No
      4
    • Idk, maybe ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      2


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https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/27/amber-rudd-call-backdoor-access-hazy-grasp-encryption

Those of you in the UK probably saw in the news Amber Rudd calling for backdoor access to messaging services like whatsapp. Inaccuracies of what she said aside, what do people think of this? Should governments be able to use 'back doors' to spy on people?

An argument often used is governments are already able to read mail (with a warrant) so why not digital communication. On the other side many are concerned about privacy, they either don't want the government or anyone else to read it, or they don't want the information to fall into the wrong hands (like a malicious hacker).

I remember a few years ago, I had a school project where I was presenting various quantum computing technologies that were being developed. One was something called quantum key distribution, basically a way of sending messages which are pretty much impossible to intercept and decrypt (without detection). This led to one of my teachers asking why it was so important that no one could intercept and decrypt messages, and also to ask what if the a government needed to intercept a message from a terrorist. At that point I had no answer, even now I don't think I do :P

So what are people's opinions on this? I don't have a solid view on it but I lean more closely towards saying it's sensible to have end to end encryption. Sorry for more serious post, but hopefully it will get some interesting responses!

EDIT: For those interested, this video goes through the details from a high level of how end to end encryption works, and also the alternatives. Worth a watch if you got time to spare 

 

Edited by Kyle

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Yes it is a brilliant idea in one respect, security for business sense and personal sense is always welcomed. It stops people tracking your whereabouts, can help provide some safety as well.

Problem is for all the people who commit crime and horrible acts they have security too which I don't agree with. This topic will always be debated but without any form of encryption we would not be safe from the numerous hackers and script kiddies out there.

Jamie

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There is a need for end to end encryption it guarantees us protection from any malicious party. Taking an extreme example of removing a dictator from power to be replaced with a democratic system. If end to end encryption had a backdoor political enemies could be eliminated by a rogue state, a resistance to an oppressive dictatorship crushed. Without encryption anyone can see what we're sending, having a backdoor means we may as well not be using encryption in the first place. I know my example is extreme but it applies to everyday situations so here's a more realistic example. 

You send a message over WhatsApp to one of your friends with the dates for your holiday, which you belive to be safely encrypted . This message gets intercepted by a hacker who uses the backdoor to get the dates you're on holiday. Chances are they have your name as well, they can look up where you're registered to vote, what is legally your permanent residence. So it's likely where you're registered to vote is going to be empty while your away, the hacker can sell this information to someone who can break into your house and steal your stuff or do it themselves. 

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I guess another point would be even if whatsapp wasn't encrypted end to end, there would still be other lesser known applications out there you can use, signal and wickr just to name a couple. Even if they weren't a thing, as long as you can establish a connection with the other party, you can establish some sort of end to end encryption if you both had an agreed upon scheme to use. I'd argue requesting a back door is a little stupid because it solves nothing, other end to end encryption will still be available and all that would be introduced is a security floor.

 

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