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How Will Social Media Suffer From Cameron's Planned Ban On Encryption

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 The Conservatives are in power for another five years. Take that however you like.

What we’ll be looking at today is the effect the Party’s leadership will have on-you guessed it! - Social media. The most prominent policy change to affect social media seems to be David Cameron’s proposed abolishment of data encryption, a change that, if implemented, could skew the way we communicate online forever…or at least the next five years.



So, we should start by addressing exactly which social media appliances will be affected by the ban on encryption; Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems both automatically encrypt their data, as do the messaging Apps WhatsApp and Snapchat. But it doesn’t end there.

Encryption underpins all secure services online, including internet banking, bill payment- even cash points use it. It seems the government are quite out of touch with role encryption play in our everyday lives; to weaken a system so constantly under threat would be terribly foolish.

As an alternative to a complete ban, Cameron has suggested that services that encrypt their data offer a back door for the government to peep through when absolutely necessary; “in extremis”. But as we know hackers are already ahead of the game, so how long does Cameron think it’ll take for them to sniff out whatever entrance they use to snoop on our data? Banks have already been subject to the craft of online robbers, only becoming secure in the wake of the of the Crypto wars, which saw a shift from having to justify the use of encryption, to having to justify not using encryption. This shift is most evident in the case of establishments, such as hospitals, that contain high volumes of intimate public data.

The argument settles at a paradox, or an Orwellian confliction of interests. This comes from two incompatible truths we all hold dear to our hearts, these being: 

1.Terrorists should not be allowed to secretly plot merciless attacks on civilians and/or the destruction of western society.

2. Civilians have the right to privately communicate, be it in the pub, through the post, online or on the telephone.

To really get to the bottom of this problem, we first need to deconstruct the principles to discover precisely what they entail.

The second is much easier to dissect; of course in a democratic society we should have the right to communicate away from the intrusive concept of government eavesdropping. This idea should certainly include letters and phones; but does it extended to the internet? With the internet taking control of so many aspects of modern day life, to take control of it, is to take some form of control over people.  Is online privacy a right that we need? Could it be agreed that our use of the internet is a privilege? And therefore, not free from interference?  I’m not even close to being sure.

David Cameron’s pursuit to ban encryption travels through foggy terrain. It is hard to gain any insight from Houses of Commons where the assembly behaves like a bunch of poorly behaved, sugar crazed school children; every time the issue is addressed publicly it’s hard to gain much info through Cameron’s rambling mantra of “in extremis” this “in extremis” that.

ibtimes.co.uk
It is no secret that terrorism is a massive concern now, as it always has been, but in principle the emergence of online terrorist activity should have no bearing on our right to privacy; People get stabbed, yet we still sell knives; people smoke and drink themselves to death, yet we still sell booze and cigarettes. Although from time to time we suffer the negative consequences of freedom, it is this same freedom that sparks everything brilliant in our society.

As explained by Phil Zimmermann, the government already has immeasurable access to 99% of our day to day information, they know when we come and go, when and where, and so to sacrifice the liberty of our citizens for that last 1% seems too high a price to pay.



Leo Donnelly 
Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF



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How Will Social Media Suffer From Cameron's Planned Ban On Encryption Reviewed by Leo Donnelly on Monday, May 25, 2015 Rating: 5

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