Although encryption on the smart devices we use on a daily basis has become almost an industry-wide security standard, web application security specialists claim that many governments do not entirely approve of this protection measure for technology users.
End-to-end encryption, present on services such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, ensures that no one but the sender and recipient of a message can access the content of the conversation, leaving aside hackers, the police and the companies that provide the service. Recent reports claim that a group of senior U.S. government officials are planning an attempt to ban this encryption.
Reports from web application security specialists mention that a group of well-known Donald Trump administration officials have agreed to push a ban against end-to-end encryption, possibly from the U.S. Congress.
The Australian government recently approved a similar measure; although it should be noted that end-to-end encryption was not formally prohibited. Instead, Australian Law requires companies to hand over users’ data which are not subject to encryption.
Although the U.S. government has tried to access data held by technology companies for years, this behavior has been heightened during the Trump administration. The current U.S. government has mentioned that intelligence and law enforcement agencies should have access to encrypt protected information if necessary.
During his presidential campaign, Trump complained against Apple, which refused to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015. Due to the company’s refusal to unlock the device, the FBI decided to pay over $1M USD to a security firm to unlock the iPhone, exploiting a vulnerability that has already been corrected.
This is not the first time the U.S. government plans to take action against end-to-end encryption. According to web application security specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), the first attempt was made during the first year of the Trump administration; in collaboration with cybersecurity researchers, the government sought to place this issue on the U.S. legislative agenda, albeit without the desired success.