European governments are starting a new chapter in the fight against encryption by unparalleled demands to access encrypted communication devices. In a new move last week, French and German interior ministers have started lobbying for a law that would force Internet companies to decrypt data under court order, while strengthening surveillance.
In UK, Investigatory Powers Bill, currently under review, threatens to establish the most intrusive online surveillance anywhere in the West, only comparable to mass surveillance law in Russia. Does this mean a gradual disappearance of privacy and a dangerous invasion into everyone's privacy and security is coming to Europe?
Why is it dangerous to give governments a backdoor access to citizens' communication?
If encrypted communications technology, used by masses - such as Whatsapp or Telegram – are decrypted to give a backdoor access to the government, the same backdoor can be used by other unlawful entities, such as hackers or criminals. Only one attack is enough to harm millions and can lead to identity theft, financial losses, spying and so on. The open gap would also be susceptible to system malfunctions where everyone's data can get compromised.
Is there any proof that decryption will help national security?
According to a recent UN report on encryption, "Governments proposing backdoor access, however, have not demonstrated that criminal or terrorist use of encryption serves as an insuperable barrier to law enforcement objectives." It means that we have no reports detailing that backdoor access to encrypted communication is at all necessary to resolve certain investigations. "Public is basically left in the dark without a chance to measure whether invasion of their online privacy would indeed help national security.
Tech companies are fighting to keep their end-to-end encryption policies, but a new law could change that. Do European citizens still have a way to protect their online privacy?
Since Internet-enabled devices might soon be significantly less secure, more users than ever are searching to find ways to strengthen their online privacy and protection. Many become first-time subscribers to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that offer a superior level of data encryption, going beyond the device's built-in protections, which might soon be weakened even further.
VPNs – such as NordVPN - encrypt user's data through a secure tunnel before accessing the Internet. This protects any sensitive information about one's location by hiding an IP address. Virtual Private Networks connect a user to Internet through an alternative path. The only information visible is that a user is connected to a VPN server and nothing more. All other information is encrypted by the VPN's protocol. This is handy when a user doesn't want their real IP traced back to them.
NordVPN Offers Double Encryption for Extra Security
NordVPN feels that many people in Europe have become concerned by their online privacy, and the potential ability of the government to read their online communications. To make sure everyone's online freedom is protected, NordVPN offers double encryption servers that encrypts your information not only once, but twice. Other privacy and security enhancing features of NordVPN include no logs policy, most advanced IKEv2/IPsec security protocols and Tor over VPN server for added anonymity.
NordVPN, like many other VPN service providers, believes in free Internet and online privacy, and feels that instead of weakening online encryption, it should be available to all online users not only through their tech devices, but also through VPNs. NordVPN's mission is to spread awareness about positive uses of encryption, and its benefits in protecting one's security online.