Encryption battle lines are drawn

Encryption is a word you’ve likely seen, heard or read more frequently over the past few months than probably over the whole of your life. Like ‘cyber’ just a couple of years ago.

A new word, a new topic has entered the conversation.

But encryption is nothing new, it’s just become more relevant to more people. Every day we send ever increasing volumes of information across the Internet, in forms which can be easily intercepted and read by persons other than the intended recipient. Yet who cares if snoops or baddies are are reading our emails?

Whether we think we care or not, most people currently don’t do anything about it, which tells us all we need to know.  But some people do care and their battles lines are clearly drawn.

The argument over whether our Internet communication should be encrypted ‘end to end’ is presently a battle between Governments (US & UK) and the tech. industry (mostly Apple).

In short, Governments want to snoop and the tech. industry wants privacy. Clearly this is not that complicated an issue and normally one where we might expect Governments to have the trump card, the power of legislation.

But where historically, Governments have used legislation to curb business monopolies & personal freedoms, I’ve started to wonder whether the balance of power has shifted in favour of the tech. giants and whether this is going to be a battle that Governments cannot win.

Google, Apple, Amazon & Facebook are now so truly global their argument that end to end encryption will make for a safer world will play to the world. But when it comes down to it, who will we trust? Our elected or unelected Governments or the global brand’s built on and to some degree reliant on user trust?

We might have done little about it so far, but I only image that we will care that our emails and texts aren’t read and that we will, as the arguments play out, mostly understand that a world of full end to end encryption will actually be a whole lot simpler, easier and safer to navigate.

How the encryption battle plays out maybe a key indicator of how the consumer through the tech industry is shifting the balance of power. Keep watching!