Why End-to-End Encrypted Data is Important to Protect Free Speech
This Wednesday, on his podcast #1536, Joe Rogan had the former NSA contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden as a guest. In about a two-and-a-half hour-long podcast the two touched on different topics like end-to-end encrypted data.
If you haven’t already, I really recommend listening to this as it’s a very interesting conversation. Snowden was also on the JRE podcast #1369 on 23rd October, 2019.
For instance, right at the start of the podcast, Snowden explains how end-to-end encryption works. He tells how this might benefit even companies like Facebook when the government demands them to hand over any user messages.
Here’s how is end-to-end encryption explained by Snowden:
“There’s this idea called end-to-end encryption, which what it means is that when you send a message, you know, when Billy sends a message to Bobby, Billy and Bobby both have the keys to unlock that message. And it could be sent through Facebook. It could be sent through Google. It could be posted you know on a bulletin board in the town square, but without that key, which the people who run the bulletin board, the people who own the bulletin board, Google, Facebook… they don’t have that key. Only the phones at the end, laptops at the end, the people on those, they’re the only people who have the key.
So, if somebody comes to Facebook and says “we want to see that information”, Facebook hands over the encrypted message and goes “well here you go, here’s our copy, but we can’t read it, you can’t either.” Now you gotta actually do some work on the government side and go get that key yourself. And then you can read it.”
The Argument Against End-to-End Encrypted Data
The argument used most often against end-to-end encryption is that it can protect criminals. E2EE, the opposition says, can create a “bubble” for them in which no one will be able to read their messages.
This argument was used in the aftermath of 9/11 when the U.S. government passed the Patriot Act in the name of “national security”. Unfortunately, what is on paper supposed to catch terrorists and criminals is mostly used to spy on citizens.
Between 2003 and 2006, the FBI issued 192,499 National Security Letters (NSL) to obtain information on computer records, emails, phone records, credit history and bank history. This led to exactly 1 (one) terror-related conviction.
Here’s an infographic from ACLU.org that shows this:
The information obtained by NSLs isn’t destroyed, even if it’s connected to someone proven innocent.
As you can see, the argument doesn’t hold water very well and is really used to give the government free rein to spy on people.
The Argument for End-to-End Encrypted Data
Let’s go back to companies like Facebook and Google for a bit.
As private companies based in the U.S. Facebook and Google can’t do much if they receive a court order or a warrant to reveal your data. They just have to do it and hand it over.
Social media companies are often using censorship to get a step ahead, but that often backfired on them. The AI can be broken, the human moderator biased (try to mention Jordan B. Peterson anywhere on Reddit and it will earn you a ban from like 80% of subreddits). Not to mention it’s expensive as hell.
That’s why they’re more and more looking into implementing end-to-end encryption. With this, Facebook can simply say “here’s the data, good luck opening it, ‘cause we can’t” save themselves the hassle, expenses, bad press and even lawsuits.
Facebook already has an end-to-end encryption app in WhatsApp, so they’re definitely moving toward it. This, of course, means that the government will crack even harder on tech companies who are thinking about E2EE. This will then crash down on the end-user, the innocent civilian who wants to protect their online privacy.
Why Do You Need End-to-End Encryption?
Let’s say you are in a private conversation with someone and a third person, someone you don’t even know, walks up, stands next to you and starts listening in. What would you do?
Probably ask them something like “sorry, do you need anything?”.
Listening to other people’s private conversations is not nice in the real world and it’s not nice in the online world either. E2EE lets you protect your online data from those who would spy on it or steal it, like the government, hackers and other bad actors.
Without it, journalists, whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, or activists like Julian Assange will never have the full freedom to reveal their findings, views and concerns.
End-to-end encryption does not protect criminals. It protects freedom of speech. With government surveillance, online censorship and cyber-attacks all on the rise, it’s important to have E2EE to protect your data online.
This is why CTemplar encrypted email is the right tool to have to protect your freedom of speech and privacy whether you’re a journalist, whistleblower, activist, or just someone who wants to keep their data to themself.
With our encrypted email, you can become a ghost and sign in anonymously, without fear of surveillance or hackers. Our Zero Data access allows only you and your recipient to read your emails. Not even CTemplar can read them.
Even if we receive a court order, we can’t access your encrypted data because our Zero-Knowledge Password Protection prevents us from knowing the password for your private key.
Are you looking to protect your email data? You can take back your privacy by signing up for CTemplar: Armored Email today and enjoy the world’s most secure encryption email!