The U.S. government is again trying to convince tech firms against using end-to-end encryption to keep user communications private and out of the prying eyes of law enforcement. The Department of Justice asserted during a recent “Lawful Access Summit,” that law enforcement must be able to view all conversations on all messaging platforms so it can better protect the public, especially children, from predators.
Previously, the DoJ has argued for a back door to encryption technology so it could monitor the communications of suspected criminals on demand, a scheme that would likely be abused by rogue law enforcement officers or by hackers who are intent on stealing the encryption keys and using them for their own nefarious ends. Despite all the rational arguments against back doors, the DoJ dismisses them as inconsequential or greatly exaggerated.
Now the Justice Department wants a “front door” to encryption technology to instantly retrieve copies of any conversations they want. But with end-to-end encryption, this ill-conceived concept would require having access to computers and mobile devices to probe for information before the encryption process starts. No word from the DoJ on how that would work.
What You Can Do
Fortunately, there are messaging services that offer end-to-end encryption that are beyond the enforcement reach of any government. One of the best is ProtonMail, a service operated from Switzerland.
Messages are stored on ProtonMail servers in encrypted format. They are also transmitted in encrypted format between their servers and user devices. Messages between ProtonMail users are also transmitted in encrypted form within their secure server network. Because data is encrypted at all steps, the risk of message interception is eliminated. ProtonMail does not even keep IP logs which can be linked to your anonymous email account.
User data is encrypted in a way that makes it inaccessible even to ProtonMail. Data is encrypted on the client side using an encryption key that it does not have access to. This means ProtonMail doesn’t have the ability to decrypt your messages, and as a result, it is unable to hand your data over to third parties – even with a law enforcement warrant.
ProtonMail uses only secure implementations of AES, RSA, along with OpenPGP. Furthermore, all of the cryptographic libraries they use are open source, which guarantees that the encryption algorithms do not have secret back doors that can be exploited by governments or hackers. ProtonMail’s open source software has been vetted by leading security experts to ensure the highest levels of protection.
Why You Need It
Encryption is essential for protecting us from the bad guys. ProtonMail is safe to use for the transfer of any information you don’t want falling into the wrong hands, including…
- Tax preparation and filing documents
- Mortgage and other loan documents
- Healthcare records
- Credit card applications
- Identity documents such as driver licenses and passports
- Business documents, mailing lists, spreadsheets, employee records and customer data
In some cases, the failure of a business to use encryption to protect customer records could result in regulatory fines and civil litigation. For individuals, encryption protects your personal information from being used for identity theft and from you becoming a target for cyber fraud – activities that can squander precious time and money before you finally realize what’s going on and take corrective measures.
Get It Now
ProtonMail offers an effective and easy to use method for securely transmitting sensitive messages and files. I use it and highly recommend it. You can download ProtonMail free at this location: https://protonmail.com
Nathan Muller is the author of 29 technical books and over 3,000 articles that have appeared in 75 publications worldwide. He also writes articles, blogs and social media content for tech companies and their executives.