Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet?

“Last week, FBI Director James Comey once again campaigned for ‘backdoors’ into the encryption programs of tech companies,” writes Sunday Yokubaitis at the Daily Dot.

“Tech execs say privacy should be the paramount virtue,” he told the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee. “When I hear that, I close my eyes and try to imagine what the world looks like where pedophiles can’t be seen, kidnappers can’t be seen, [and] drug dealers can’t be seen.”

The United States government is playing to fear, uncertainty, and doubt. The reality is the government already collects a tremendous amount of personal data about its citizens through the location data our phones give away, National Security Agency metadata programs and online shopping habits without our consent.

Encryption is how privacy-conscious Internet users fight back against the unblinking eye of government mass surveillance and protect themselves online. Even if the NSA can break some encryption technologies, we’re at least making it harder and more expensive for them to track law-abiding citizens en masse. When Comey asks for backdoors, he is really just asking to make his job easier—with dubious benefits and very serious risks.

We must protect encryption because backdoors are inherently insecure.

Today’s Question: Is encryption the Second Amendment for the Internet?

  • John Dilligaf

    Seems more like a more vigorous attempt to keep the 4th Amendment viable.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, houses, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated…”

  • Larry Sanderson

    I am all for back doors! I mean, how else do you get out of a building if there’s a fire in the front door? And then if there were no back doors, nobody would get that old song by the Doors…

  • Gary F

    Of course the government would only use it for good purposes! Right.

  • James

    Tough question. Let’s take it to the extremes.
    (A) Everything is encrypted with absolutely no way in. Anything you say or do on the Internet is risk free, except (maybe) if the intended recipient of your communication shares it with others.
    (B) Everything is easy to read, or if encrypted, the key is shared with authorities, who can use the key when they want to.
    Kind of a gut call, but to me (B) seems worse than (A).

  • Ulysses Tennyson

    … .–. — — -.- … / ..-. ..- -.-. -.- / ..- .–. / – — — / — ..- -.-. …. / – — / – .-. ..- … – / -. — – / – — / .-.. — … . / -.- . -.–

    • John Dilligaf

      01001100 01001111 01001100

    • Samuel Morse ASCII

      I believe what Ulysses was trying to say is:
      01010011 01010000 01001111 01001111 01001011 01010011 00100000 01000110 01010101 01000011 01001011 00100000 01010101 01010000 00100000 01010100 01001111 01001111 00100000 01001101 01010101 01000011 01001000 00100000 01010100 01001111 00100000 01010100 01010010 01010101 01010011 01010100 00100000 01001110 01001111 01010100 00100000 01010100 01001111 00100000 01001100 01001111 01010011 01000101 00100000 01001011 01000101 01011001

      • Sigourney Beaver

        Num. 23:23

  • David P.

    I can see both sides of this issue, and both sides have merit.

    When we travel, we allow the TSA to search us and we use locks for our baggage that the TSA has a master key to. Just so we feel safer.

    Then there is this quote from Ben Franklin –
    Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.

    We hold this collective expectation that the government is responsible for protecting us from attack, yet we harbor these fears about giving government all the tools it foresees needing to provide said protection.

  • PaulJ

    Don’t real criminals have their own encryption methods while the rest of us rely on warrants; same like for snail mail.

    • Pearly

      Like private servers?

  • MNDFLer

    Seriously folks, the NSA director is on tape where he lied to Congress when asked if they knowingly accessed accounts. If there is probable cause, then a Judge can rule to give a search warrant. Therefore, there is no legal standing to allow NSA or the FBI to have access at their whim. is is how Hitler got his start. He cried Germany would be under threat of the Communists so he curtailed Free speech, closed up and controlled their media and ended any citizen protest actions. He took his regime on the road to silence critics. Hmmmm_ and what did Lois Lerner do while head of the nonprofit section at the IRS? The DOJ knew she was doing that since the records show the Attny General office was often contacted for their assistance to investigate and charge any conservative groups. Lets face it folks, all the rhetoric of Obama and how he would be run the most transparent presidency, was a myth..just as all the other scandals that have occurred under his watch..lets not forget he admits to secret talks with the largest sponsor of terrorism, the same country that was responsible for killing thousands of our military, the same country that used to be listed as a state sponsor of terrorism and a direct threat to the proposed destruction of Israel. That our president has turned out to be the worst in history by all accounts, is just shameful and I feel sorry for the far left that refuse to see how they have been brainwashed by their party. Until our Democrat Party is no longer endorsed by the American Communist party ( I have seen it, read it, saw the financials on their contributions) then America will never stay as the world’s only super power. Obama’s policies , just as his speeches show, is to minimize the role of America and to take little responsibility as the country the rest look up to.

  • Ulysses Tennyson