Every day it feels like our rights to privacy and security are under attack, and indeed, if you’re keeping up with the news, this is a lot more than just a feeling.
Governments and law enforcement agencies around the world are pushing hard for new powers to keep tabs on their citizens. They argue they require the ability to track your activities and access your private information in order to protect you. And they’re willing to weaken encryption for everyone to do so.
We’ve already seen this happen in the UK with their newly passed laws that grant the government unprecedented surveillance powers, and as James Vincent so eloquently states there, the new laws establish a dangerous new norm where surveillance is seen as the baseline for a peaceful society.
Laws like these in the UK are likely to spread to other countries if citizens don’t take a stand. Indeed these laws could end up appearing tame by future standards if we’re not vigilant.
As tempting as it is to give the government more powers to nab the bad people before crimes have even been committed, history has proven time and again that these broader powers are most often used against law-abiding citizens rather than criminals themselves.
It’s possible laws like these will find their way into Canada as well so I’m asking for your help to send a clear message to our ministers before the ball starts rolling in that direction.
Since September Public Safety Canada has been holding a Consultation on National Security to prompt discussion and debate on future policy changes. Feedback is accepted from all Canadians as well as international readers, so everyone is welcome to contribute.
The set of questions and discussion points is quite broad but the one that’s most important to 1Password users is Investigative Capabilities in a Digital World, particularly this question:
How can law enforcement and national security agencies reduce the effectiveness of encryption for individuals and organizations involved in crime or threats to the security of Canada, yet not limit the beneficial uses of encryption by those not involved in illegal activities?
Or said another way, how can the government institute a backdoor into encryption software that only they can exploit? It sounds simple but in fact it’s simply not possible. As we discussed previously on this blog, back doors are bad for security architecture, and when back doors go bad: mind your Ps and Qs covers an example of a backdoor that went awry along with the math that made it possible.
Please complete the survey and let the Canadian government know you’re not willing to weaken your security or give up your privacy. The opportunity to provide feedback ends on Thursday, December 15th.
I know it’s tempting to give up some freedoms to allow someone else protect you, but whenever I feel that way I remind myself of what Benjamin Franklin would say:
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Please forgive a Canadian for quoting one of America’s founding fathers, but Ben summed things up so well that I couldn’t resist. ?
Thanks for caring about privacy and security as much as we do ❤️