Free Press Unlimited and more than 170 organisations and companies worldwide are asking government leaders to support strong encryption. The letter, initiated by Access Now, which will be sent to all government leaders, can be read at: www.SecureTheInternet.org and is open to sign by all.
Encryption is essential for individuals and journalists if they want to communicate securely and privately. Several countries, including France, India, the United Kingdom, China and the United States of America want to curtail the use of encryption by, for example, requiring companies to include a “backdoor” in their software.
In this way, government agencies can access encrypted information, including private conversations, financial transactions and medical details.
“Without strong encryption it will be impossible for us to communicate securely with journalists and partners in the repressive countries in which we work”, says Menso Heus, Technology Officer at Free Press Unlimited. “In practice, this will result in a decline of independent news from these regions. But it also has implications in the West: whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and the whistleblowing platform Wikileaks and the Dutch Publeaks are dependent on the security that encryption offers.”
Free Press Unlimited campaigns in more than 35 countries worldwide for greater press freedom, especially in existing and past conflict areas. It is essential to be able to communicate securely and privately in those areas: journalists and sources are continually the victims of surveillance and arrest because their repressive governments are not happy with what they write.
Free Press Unlimited expresses her appreciation to the Dutch Cabinet who last week decided against making the inclusion of encryption backdoors compulsory at this stage. We ask the Dutch government to also plead in favour of encryption within the EU and to encourage other governments to make the same right decision.