A group of over 40 media and human rights organizations are calling on the Five Eyes (FVEY) countries and democratic governments around the world to stop weakening encryption and support the World Wide Web as a "free and open Internet."
In recent years, governments around the world have passed laws that require companies to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted messages embedded in the firm's products, which encryption advocates say is tantamount to a dangerous backdoor.
In an open letter sent to politicians in the US, the EU, Canada, the UK and India, dozens of organizations have expressed dismay at a number of new laws that have either been passed or are under consideration in democratic countries. The laws will weaken the privacy of activists, dissidents, journalists and citizens around the world, who must act anonymously to stay safe, rights activists say.
“Many journalists, whistleblowers and activists rely on secure, encrypted solutions to protect their data as well as their identities. Access to these tools is a matter of life and death for those who use these services,” the authors of the letter wrote.
The authors of the letter call on countries to take the following actions:
- prohibit legislatures from abusing the power to write encryption laws;
- ensure that encrypted communications are not blocked or restricted by regulatory authorities;
- review any bills, laws or policies that undermine encryption or block access to services that provide encrypted communications.
The letter was signed by the Tor Project, encrypted apps Threema and Tutanota, Proton AG (creator of ProtonMail), digital rights nonprofits, the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Fight for the Future, and the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP).