Pressure from government on companies and institutions to provide access to encrypted communications and stored data us increasing. Many people call it the second crypto war. An influential report often cited in the discussion is “Keys Under Doormats: Mandating insecurity by requiring government access to all data and communications” written by a score of well known and respected scientists. The report raises many important and relevant points. However, it is very much focused on the argument that government access is a bad idea from a technical perspective. And I happen to disagree with that point of view. There are many good reasons against indiscriminate government access to public infrastructure, but the technical arguments are the least convincing in my mind. In fact I think it is dangerous and ineffective to argue against government access on technical grounds. Instead the real arguments against indiscriminate government access are of an ethical, legal, political and organisational nature. Here is why.
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