Keys Under Doormats

“The Internet was designed to maximize simplicity of communication, not security of communication”

 Johan Eriksson and Giampiero Giacomello

In 2018 cyber-crime now accounts for more than 50% of crime in the United Kingdom, and was the second most reported crime worldwide in 2016 (Comparitech). A study at the University of Maryland found that there is now, on average, one cyber attack every 39 seconds, 91.6 % of which involve ‘theft of data’.

Dealing with the proliferation of cyber-crime is one the main issues for modern- day governments.

In 2015 a group of the world’s leading experts on cyber-security published a paper entitled Keys Under Doormatsin which they demonstrated that any government attempt to protect citizens through exceptional access to encrypted materials would only create more problems than it solved.

The report stated that creating backchannels for government ministries would simply  ‘open doors through which criminals and malicious nation-states can attack the very individuals law enforcement seeks to defend’. 

The Obama administration gave substantial credit to this report’s analysis, and used it to guide its decision not to pursue exceptional access to phone data.

Cyber-crime does not seem to be an issue that is going to go away anytime soon, in fact the exponential development of technology is likely only to enhance the destructive capability of the individual. If keeping a key under the doormat is not the answer, we’re going to need a global prerogative in the coming years to find out what is.

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