In the age of digital technology, access to encryption is of similar importance as the access to free speech. While the arguments against public encryption technology are certainly valid considering public security, it’s unreasonable to deny the public access to such a critical element of online communication, especially since most communications using encryption don’t concern criminal activity.
First of all, if the public has no access to encryption, many online activities would be vulnerable: medical records, online transactions and addresses. While the lack of encryption makes wire tapping easier, it also makes criminal activity easier. Most people get online without knowing which system of encryption they are adopting. The existence of internet is making people more likely to share their personal information without the knowledge of cyber security. If public lack the basic methods to encrypt their information online, criminals can more easily obtain user information.
Secondly, the right to encrypt a message online is no different from encrypting a written message that’s sent physically. If the government had no right to interfere with that type of encryption, they shouldn’t be granted the authority solely due to the change in communication methods. While policies should adapt to the changing world, underlying concepts and guidelines should remain the same.
While it’s important to consider public security, we have to take in mind the basic needs of encryption. If people are in domestic violence situations or other situations that demand secure and anonymous conversations, having no encryption would put people (without any criminal intention) at risk.