Long before we knew that it would be called Signal, we knew what we wanted it to be. Instead of teaching the rest of the world cryptography, we wanted to see if we could develop cryptography that worked for the rest of the world. At the time, the industry consensus was largely that encryption and cryptography would remain unusable, but we started Signal with the idea that private communication could be simple. Since then, we’ve made some progress. We’ve built a service used by millions, and software used by billions. The stories that make it back to us and keep us going are the stories of people discovering each other in moments where they found they could speak freely over Signal, of people falling in love over Signal, of people organizing ambitious plans over Signal.
By Staff of RSF - “Massive surveillance operations conducted by the Five Eyes partnership inherently put the human rights of people around the world at risk. The joint communique commits to human rights and the rule of law, but provides no detail as to how these powerful, secretive spy agencies plan to live up to those commitments. We call for public participation and meaningful accountability now; otherwise, those commitments are empty.” – Amie Stepanovich, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now. “Our political leaders are putting people around the world at greater risk of crime when they call for greater powers to weaken our digital security. Security experts and cryptographers are as united in their views on encryption as scientists are on climate change. Politicians need to listen to them before they make decisions that could put us all at risk.” – Jim Killock, ORG. “Attempting to undermine the free use and development of strong encryption technology is not only technologically misguided, it is politically irresponsible. Both law enforcement and intelligence agencies have access to more data—and more powerful analytical tools—than ever before in human history. Measures that undermine the efficacy or public availability of encryption will never be proportionate when weighed against their profound threat to global human rights: encryption is essential to the preservation of freedom of opinion, expression, dissent, and democratic engagement.
By Kate Cox for Consumerist - Every new President brings a wave of change to D.C., but the first two weeks of the Trump administration have been busier and more controversial than usual — to put it very mildly. While much attention has been paid to the public response to the White House’s newest tenant, there are federal employees who can’t be so vocal about their concerns, particularly when chatting over government-supplied devices. That’s why some federal staffers are turning to new encryption technologies to keep their discussions away from unwanted scrutiny. Politico reports today that across agencies, some federal employees are seriously stepping up their tech security game.
By Joan McCarter for Daily Kos - Civil rights groups have a profound and long-standing interest in law enforcement and the surveillance state, that's what has them joining Apple in its fight with the FBI to protect our right to protect our data. In recent weeks, voices in the movement and civil rights activists such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson have met with Apple officials and filed briefs on behalf of the company, which is resisting a court order to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. […]
By Julia Angwin for Pro Publica - The FBI’s much-discussed request to Apple can seem innocuous: Help us extract six weeks of encrypted data from the locked iPhone of Syed Farook, an employee of San Bernardino’s health department who spearheaded an attack that killed 14 people. Most people believe Apple should comply. But the FBI is demanding a lot more than the data on a single phone. It has obtained a court order requiring Apple to build custom surveillance software for the FBI – which computer security expert Dan Guido cleverly dubs an FBiOS.
By Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept - On September 5, 2013, The Guardian, the New York Times and ProPublica jointly reported — based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden — that the National Security Agency had compromised some of the encryption that is most commonly used to secure internet transactions. The NYT explained that NSA “has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the emails, web searches, internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world.”
By Hamza Shaban for Buzz Feed News - Encryption, or encoding messages to prevent unwanted parties from snooping, is regarded as a crucial tool for communicating and doing business on the web. But for American law enforcement, the mass adoption of strong encryption tools — which would prevent even technology companies from decrypting private messages — poses a national security dilemma. The FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies say that encryption can lead to tremendous harm.
The NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has urged lawyers, journalists, doctors, accountants, priests and others with a duty to protect confidentiality to upgrade security in the wake of the spy surveillance revelations. Snowden said professionals were failing in their obligations to their clients, sources, patients and parishioners in what he described as a new and challenging world. "What last year's revelations showed us was irrefutable evidence that unencrypted communications on the internet are no longer safe. Any communications should be encrypted by default," he said. The response of professional bodies has so far been patchy. A minister at the Home Office in London, James Brokenshire, said during a Commons debate about a new surveillance bill on Tuesday that a code of practice to protect legal professional privilege and others requiring professional secrecy was under review. Snowden's plea for the professions to tighten security came during an extensive and revealing interview with the Guardian in Moscow.