Internet access could have been made a universal human right, which was a positive step towards digital freedom. However, the truth is that it’s not enough – encryption has to be at center-stage!
The world today is indeed a free society, whereby access to the internet is seamless thanks to that freedom. But does it matter if you access the internet freely, but without any privacy?
Perhaps, privacy could be there, but still, it won’t matter if there’s no encryption.
Availability of encryption is intrinsically bound with rights to free speech, privacy, freedom of religion, freedom of association, which are collectively known as human rights, or civil liberties.
Therefore, it means that encryption is almost everything when talking about your privacy on the internet.
But why does it matter?
The world nowadays depends heavily on encryption. Most of the daily “mission-critical” tasks, activities, and jobs need one to use the internet as well as digital platform encryption.
Data is undoubtedly central to economic prosperity, personal lives, and security. Therefore, it should be kept secure. Just as you lock your home to restrict access to critical infrastructure and other valuable business property; encryption is the “online padlock” to keep prying eyes from your data.
The point is; once you send a message that’s encrypted over the internet, the contents of that message are “locked” and no one except the recipient (who has the key) will be able to access it.
What makes encryption so significant is the fact that it’s impossible for one to crack it down. In fact, once written into code, unless one has the key, there’s no other way around it. Therefore, it means that the more you encrypt several data, the more your online privacy becomes.
Ideally, encryption is arguably the only practical means that you could use to keep your personal information private; even if a hacker intercepts it.
In 2011, when the United Nations declared access to the internet to be a universal human right and free, perhaps, it meant that whatever you do online should be private and free. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as; folks are worried that whatever they do online might be monitored.
So, what’s freedom?
It’s true you probably don’t have anything to hide from the authorities, but with the thought of being monitored at the back of your mind, there’s no doubt that it limits what you can explore on the internet.
Apparently, it’s not about what those who are spying on you can gain, but what it literally does to what you do online.
There’s no denying that surveillance changes how an individual surfs the internet – it’s merely a psychological phenomenon. People will always behave differently when there’s that thought that they’re being watched; it impairs performance, encourages conformity, and damages trust in those folks that are being watched.
Therefore, talking about an internet-free society, privacy has to be installed. There’s no way people can be free if whatever they do is not private.
With the ever-increasing cases of data breaches in today’s society, the need for encryption is slowly but steadily growing and is showing no signs of stopping soon. In fact, even the U.N. did take a special interest in their report, whereby they stress encryption and anonymity as the way to go to achieve freedom on the internet.
However, there’s an allowance in the report for “court-ordered decryption.” That means that in the circumstance that the court orders for decryption of some content, they will be allowed access to such content (on a case-by-case basis).
Such legislation has seen some resistance from companies, such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google. However, to some level, still, it’s a step in the right direction.
Moreover, over a decade now, encryption technology has sailed forward making giant steps, and now even web browsing is via HTTPS, meaning all your social media, emails, and banking is encrypted.
Nevertheless, thus far, encryption hasn’t proved yet in full that it makes society indeed free and that it’s the way to go. However, for millions of folks, it’s already the best feature to secure your data – an almost impossible feature you can’t afford to miss.