Undermining encryption will make us less safe and do nothing to stop ISIS

Following The Sun’s report that ministers are planning to force tech companies like Facebook and Apple to introduce backdoors for encrypted messaging services, Sam Dumitriu, Research Economist of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

"The encryption backdoor that intelligence services are proposing is exactly what led to the NHS WannaCry attack two weeks ago, and would put everyone who uses WhatsApp at risk.
"Criminals and terrorists will always have access to encryption whether or not it’s banned for apps that you and I use. If you outlaw encryption, only outlaws will have encryption, and that will make us all less safe.
"Terrorists like Salman Abedi will simply switch to lesser known, even more secure apps like Telegram, which protect journalists and activists from government survelliance and censorship in China and Iran.
"Hackers already dedicate substantial effort to seeking out and exploiting every vulnerability out there. Just two weeks ago we saw the harm and chaos they can cause when they shutdown IT systems at forty NHS trusts. The WannaCry exploit they used was based off a leaked NSA vulnerability in Windows. If WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google were forced to create vulnerabilities in their encryption, it'd risk giving cyber criminals a blank cheque to cause chaos and extort billions - and do nothing to stop terrorism."

For further comment or to arrange an interview please get in touch with samd@adamsmith.org or call 020 7222 4995