Online security and data encryption have become major hot topics across the world. This is a particularly important point of debate among security enthusiasts as governments try to access their citizens’ private data. The most commonly used reasoning is that it helps ensure national security and citizen safety. While that is certainly a valid reason, it cannot come at the cost of compromising the privacy of millions.
Governments Accessing Encrypted Data – A Threat to Our Privacy?
The drive for government access to encrypted data can be traced back to terror attacks in Europe some years back. Back then, as now, security and intelligence agencies had lobbied for access permissions. We already know about the various intelligence and security collaborations by governments internationally. If more laws are implemented to erode the privacy of citizens, it can be disastrous for any democracy.
So, here are some factors we should keep in mind when we consider the changes in the online privacy sector worldwide.
Key Factors to Remember in the Online Privacy Debate
Both Governments and Private Citizens Should Have Data Security
Data security is not just for the government. Free and unimpeded access to data for the government can only harm citizens. Historically, governments tend to use data manipulatively. Any laws permitting data access without restraint can only worsen this trend.
Data Encryption is Standard Policy for Online Safety
Enabling the government to bypass encryption can have dangerous consequences. Encryption is a standard policy online and established government protocols can be easily exploited. This can be done by elements inside the government as well as exterior forces. Both will put private data of citizens in grave jeopardy.
Discretionary Government Access with Full Disclosure is Optimal
It is true that is some cases, government access to private data can help mitigate threats. This includes discovering any terrorism plans before they happen. However, if the government is not held accountable for disclosing its private data access, misuse is virtually guaranteed. That is why all government data access should come with a full disclosure clause which must be fulfilled as soon as possible.
Backdoors are Unsafe at Best and Catastrophic at Worst
A lot of people have argued for the development of backdoors for governments to access data. This may seem like a useful solution, but it is not. In fact, a backdoor creates many problems for maintaining proper security. It is one of the most easily exploitable means for rogue online elements to access secure data. So, having a government-only backdoor is not a viable solution.
Encrypted Communications Are Essential for Free Speech
Encryption for communications serves as a bulwark against free speech rights violations. Thus, removing these encryption protocols will do more harm than good. Ostensibly, cybercriminals will be monitoring chat channels and other communication processes much more often than governments. This can seriously undermine the safety and wellbeing of individual citizens.
Governments Already Have the Access They Need
While virtually no online communications service provider will admit it, the government already has ample data access. This is true for almost all such service providers save a very few exceptions. Other than those committed dedicatedly to privacy, the government always finds entry points for data access. With that in mind, implementing legal changes to further bolster their abilities will only serve to harm citizens.
Selective Access Grants Are the Best Possible Method
Privacy is a right and a fundamental one at that. The government cannot be allowed to interfere with the lives of citizens unless there is a demonstrable benefit from it. In most cases, this will have to do with the safety and wellbeing of many people. Only this can merit an official sanction to have private data access. To ensure the same, an independent committee of reputed and unbiased legal experts must be given the decision-making power.
Citizens Right to Data Access is a Priority
The first and foremost thing required for justified government data access is determining citizen’s rights. This is important as it will put their right to privacy at the center of any such sanction. There need to be enough safeguards against granting of unrestricted access without a compelling reason to merit the same. This is important because it will ensure due discretion for the access grant and that the maintenance of data safety of citizens.
Digital Property Rights Laws and All Related Legal Factors Must Be Resolved
Digital property rights are an integral part of the law and also the constitution. As such, the working process of the law needs to be in line with the rights which have been guaranteed therein. In the event that the evolving laws are incompatible with the constitutional right, they need to be changed. However, the change must always proceed with an eye for preserving the rights of individual citizens.
The Subjectivity of Digital Crime Must be Nullified
Digital data rights and privacy is not something which can be compromised. Considering this domain is evolving constantly, the need to update laws and policies to protect users’ data is imminent. All parties which gather, store and assess private data on individuals need to follow a strict and well-defined protocol.
Further, regulatory bodies need to be in place to ensure data is managed without compromising the privacy and safety of individuals. All of this can only be accomplished by having a robust legal framework which provides justified government access without widespread privacy compromises.
How Can You Ensure Your Data is Protected?
If you are a regular internet user, data protection and privacy should be an important concern for you. One of the best ways of maintaining a high degree of online privacy and security is by using a VPN. Virtual Private Networks are immensely popular because they provide encryption facilities to users. This can help you stay safe online and also access facilities which might not be available in your area. VPN can also allow for higher internet connectivity and better speeds if you choose the right service for your needs. Secure your online presence today with the right VPN services!