Edward Snowden spoke at a press conference yesterday marking the first Global Encryption Day, stating “If you weaken encryption, people will die.”
“Privacy is power,” said Snowden, speaking from Russia via video link. The U.S., European Union, Australia, Russia and China are among the jurisdictions “trying to develop means and methods for requiring weak encryption systems,” Snowden claimed.
<p>Snowden’s comments shine light on the balance that businesses and governmental organizations are always striving to maintain. Companies want to honor and protect peoples’ privacy while at the same time using that data effectively to process transactions, offer new products and services, and carry out their core business. Most governments want to protect citizens and their right to privacy, which at times means processing and analyzing that very data to provide services and enforce the law. Without a doubt, this is a balancing act, with both sides presenting compelling arguments.</p>
<p>If you skirt the political arguments and go to the heart of the issue, all of this discussion is an incredible affirmation that data-centric security—including protection methods such as strong encryption and tokenization—is the best way to keep sensitive data private, instead of trusting more traditional security mechanisms that guard perimeters and borders. The optimist would say that this continued discussion in the public square serves us all in the end.</p>