Dutch secret service wants to have all encryption keys
The boss of the Dutch secret service AIVD, Rob Bertholee, showed himself to be a fanatical opponent of every form of encrypted communication. He sees security to be a direct opposite of privacy. “You have to ask yourself how much your privacy is worth to you.” Although this line of thought could be expected from a man whose job is to get to know as much as possible about potential terrorists in The Netherlands, the absence of encryption does not make life safer. The fact that companies have to leave backdoors open, implies that evil-minded people might also be able to use these, which in turn could make society less secure rather than more.
On top of this pragmatic objection, which in its own right is already a valid reason to keep using encryption, there is also a more important ideological reason, which fits seamlessly with the principles of the Qiy Foundation. Privacy is not something you can give up to be a bit more secure. Privacy is a collective value you cannot weigh against security because it is an independent notion, which deserves protection. It protects other values and freedoms that are important for our entire society. In fact, as we wrote in the aftermath of the attacks in Brussels: even in tumultuous times, privacy and security go hand in hand and both are essential to retain trust in the digital world. In the Dutch State Budget for the upcoming year it says: “The AIVD (secret service) investigates organizations, people and other countries that form a potential danger to the Dutch democratic rule of law and other important interests of state.” Since one of the goals of the AIVD is to protect the democratic rule of law, advocating the abolishment of encryption, which protects certain individual rights, seems paradoxical.
Personal privacy in the online world should derive directly from the Castle Doctrine. Only you should have the keys to your home on the Net. And only you and those to whom you send messages over the Net have the right to see those messages. That has also been the purpose of the wax seal (such as the one above) on mailed envelopes, for hundreds of years. That encryption works better than a wax seal isn't what matters here. What matters is that we need our private spaces online as well as off, and also to make sure our private communications are indeed private.
Doors, locks, window shades, clothing, sealed envelopes and other forms of privacy protection in the offline world should serve as models for the online world as well.
If somebody has a link to the original Qiy piece, please send it along. If @qiytweet tweets it, I'll be sure to point to it as well.