Computers are everywhere. They are now something we put our whole bodies into—airplanes, cars—and something we put into our bodies—pacemakers, cochlear implants. They HAVE to be trustworthy. — Electronic Freedom Frontier Fellow Cory Doctorow
Cindy Cohn and Trevor Timm write: Cory’s right, of course. And that’s why the recent New York Times story on the NSA’s systematic effort to weaken and sabotage commercially available encryption used by individuals and businesses around the world is so important — and not just to people who care about political organizing, journalists or whistleblowers. Thanks to additional reporting, we now know it matters deeply to companies including Brazil’s Petrobras and Belgium’s Belgacom, who are concerned about protecting their infrastructure, negotiating strategies and trade secrets. But really, it matters to all of us.
We all live in an increasingly networked world. And one of the preconditions of that world has to be basic computer security — freedom to use strong technologies that are fully trustworthy.
Every casual Internet user, whether they know it or not, uses encryption daily. It’s the “s” in https and the little lock you see in your browser — signifying a secure connection — when you purchase something online, when you’re at your bank’s website or accessing your webmail, financial records, and medical records. Cryptography security is also essential in the computers in our cars, airplanes, houses and pockets.
By weakening encryption, the NSA allows others to more easily break it. By installing backdoors and other vulnerabilities in systems, the NSA exposes them to other malicious hackers—whether they are foreign governments or criminals. As security expert Bruce Schneier explained, “It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create.” [Continue reading…]