'If You Weaken Encryption, People Will Die'

Edward Snowden
Former Computer Intelligence Consultant, Author

Strong encryption allows people around the world to protect themselves from the harms of technology. It's encryption that allows people to escape the pervasive suspicious gaze that criminalizes their very identities.

In the world where state and corporate surveillance happens, a place where the internet is controlled and centralized by only a few corporate titans, where AI and algorithms biases are present, and biometric systems can be tricked, encryption returns humanity.

This is because encryption empowers everyone who needs privacy the most.

Privacy is the ability to have doors and curtains, which allow people to choose with whom and when, to share their most personal and beautiful thoughts and moments.

And here, strong encryption allows for privacy and privacy is not secrecy.

In the growth of the digitized world, more than ever, people are facing threats online. And it's that encryption can play a critical role in protecting those people.

Encryption safeguards the personal security of billions of people and the national security of countries around the world.

Without it, it's a matter of life and death.

Edward Snowden

According to Edward Snowden in a statement:

"If you weaken encryption, people will die."

"This year alone, after the fall of the government of Afghanistan, we saw how crucial encryption is in keeping ordinary people safe. The Covid pandemic brought home how essential encrypted messaging apps on our smartphones are for communicating with loved ones if we’re ill and need help. Doctors used encrypted messaging apps to communicate with their patients and share personal information securely."

"Encryption makes us all safer."

"From families protecting photographs of their kids, to personal healthcare information, encryption keeps our private information private."

Snowden who joined the Global Encryption Coalition, wants to protect encryption.

Through the group that consists of civil society organizations and tech firms, Snowden wants to warn that undermining encryption can leave people more vulnerable to crime and surveillance.

And he said that by referring to his past.

"I have seen first-hand how governments can abuse the power they have to access the personal data of innocent people in the name of national security," said Snowden. “Weakening encryption would be a colossal mistake that could put thousands of lives at risk.”

Edward Snowden is among the most prominent beneficiaries of the group.

The man who became famous after leaking a series of NSA data to journalists, use encryption to send his messages to journalists. Through his revelations, the whistleblower uncovered the fact that millions of Americans had been under illegal mass surveillance.

While many people use encryption to protect their data, from public figures and high-profiled individuals, to politicians and bankable celebrities, to journalists.

They do this because the data they interact and deal with, are sensitive.

But encryption doesn't end there, as adopters also include racial justice protestors who wish to avoid police surveillance, LBTQ+ people in countries where their sexual orientation is criminalized, pedophiles and other criminals, and even some of the politicians who have called for Snowden to be put in jail.

While in reality, while encryption can help flourish the bad things in life, encryption ensures that people can be safe online.

It's encryption that can help people avoid digital threats to their work and safety. Encryption ensures journalists' work and is critical to protecting their sources.

Through encryption, data and information can spread, even in the most dangerous environment, no matter the circumstances.

Everyone has had private conversations and data.

They may have received or sent personal messages, pictures or videos. They may own a number of sensitive documents. or interact with financial data and others.

It's these things that they consider sensitive, and that it's these things that people never wish the world to know.

“Encryption makes us all safer,” said Snowden.

“From families protecting photographs of their kids, to personal healthcare information, encryption keeps our private information private.”

But governments fear encryption because it weakens their authority and governance over their people. And this is what Snowden is fighting against.

"The use of strong encryption has been called into question by many governments worldwide who are concerned about criminals exploiting encryption technology to hide illegal activity online," the group said.

"However, these proposals to weaken or undermine strong encryption could actually leave users more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and criminal activity," the group said.