This week the Dutch government bucked the trend and showed support for encryption.
While the UK and US governments are trying to weaken encryption with the UK currently debating the Investigatory Powers Bill aka the Snooper’s Charter which aims to do just that it seems our EU neighbours over in the Netherlands are singing an altogether different tune.
The security and justice minister for the Netherlands Ard van der Steur was quoted as saying that encryption respects privacy and allows citizens to take part in secret communications and to transmit protected and confidential data.
Seems others don’t want to go Dutch
The statement from van der Steur is in stark contrast to US and UK officials who are continuing to look for ways to weaken encryption, introduce back doors only available to law enforcement and government agencies or as claimed by UK prime minister David Cameron, ban encryption altogether, although the last one was somewhat retracted after it was realised just how stupid it sounded.
US and UK authorities are concerned that while encryption does indeed allow everyday citizens to communicate securely as raised by van der Steur it is also available to terrorists and other criminals who wish to harm society.
Recently US senator Dianne Feinstein in complete contrast to the Dutch statement claimed she wanted to propose legislation in the US that would require companies to decrypt information. With many of the leading tech companies being US based such as Apple who have made it their policy to not be able to decrypt user’s encrypted information then it would seem she may have a battle on her hands.
Users in the Netherlands may take a sigh of relief that it is unlikely they will be exposed to new legislation attempting to be brought into the UK, US and other countries as van der Steur continued his statement saying that the government doesn’t think it is desirable to introduce legal measures against the development or use of encryption within the Netherlands.
What does Encryption mean for me?
Encryption is used in Virtual Private Network services such as those from no-log VPN provider IPVanish which allows users to protect their online privacy but not only is encryption seen in security tools it also comes into play in our everyday internet use from accessing your bank to logging into websites that store personal details such as Facebook or Twitter.
Encryption allows communications to remain secure and even if intercepted stay unreadable. As much of our personal information is now required to be entered online especially to access government services it would seem unwise to weaken encryption and impossible to remove it altogether.
It seems while the Dutch government have shown sense it is left for the others to play catch up.
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net