Regulating encryption would be rediculous. Here's why..

People often refrain from talking conspiracy theories to avoid being perceived as one of the 'tin foil hat' collective. However, one real threat to you online unfortunately is your own government.

Edward Snowdon had us all out of our chairs when he declared this in 2013. This threat comes in a variety of forms but the two main ones are to debilitate encryption and the other is to legitimize mass surveillance.

Many countries are weighing up the idea of putting policies into effect to limit encryption as well as legislate and permit nation-state levels of spying. Governments have been doing this improperly for years anyway so putting the world to right on the legality of mass surveillance and mass spying is exercising hot air while making little difference. Once everyone has chipped in with their two cents, mass surveillance and nation state spying will continue as it has done whether within the confines of the law or not.

The need for authorities to counter the ever-evolving multiple facets of terrorism which are growing in sophistication is a fair counter-argument but where's the limit? Is it with a totalitarian expectation for everyday people to be obedient when told there's nothing wrong with their government spying on them?

Proposing laws for weaker encryption means eliminating the option for information to remain confidential when communicating online. Your data would be easier to obtain for both governments and criminals.

Regulating and enforcing orders relating to security and legalized spying has been going on among governments for many a moon in such places as USA, UK, China, Russia, Brazil and India.

The UK’s Data Communications Bill includes a law for recording 12 months of internet history.

WhatsApp was banned for 48 hours in Brazil in 2016 due to encryption by the government.

India have also made some very stalwart suggestions on regulating encryption while the Kazakhstan government has a legal obligation for backdoors allowing them to monitor and censor internet traffic.

All attempts to get rid of encryption are flawed for the simple reason being the essence of encryption is a mathematical formula. It cannot be outlawed nor disposed of. To bury it is like burying the truth.

The wheels are already in motion. It has been invented therefore it exists. It can't be 'de-invented' nor weakened only for a terrorist or someone you wish it to be weakened for. It doesn't make sense.

Hackers know more robust forms of encryption exist which will be available on the dark net like all other prohibited goods. The rest of us would be stuck with weakened security which a hacker could get through with even greater ease. The challenge in figuring out who hacked you would increase as hackers would have stronger encryption than you; unless you chose to break the law to obtain stronger encryption.

Do me a favour and get your head around that one!

Depleting encryption depletes it for all of us, not just for who you wish it for. A bit like being told indirectly to leave all your doors and windows open to your personal information.

Terrorists, criminals and hacker groups would be protected with robust encryption bought from black markets while everyday people like you and me would be forced to protect ourselves with weaker encryption - a bit like going to war in the dark with someone who's armoured up to the retinas with sword and shield while you're stood there in your undies with a butter knife in your hand.

[Reference: Nathan House, Station X Ltd.]

Huw Tremlett

Data Management Consultant

Huw Tremlett