Amber Rudd is wrong — real people do want end-to-end encryption

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd stated that “real people” do not need such “high levels of security” as offered by end-to-end encryption (E2EE), going on to add that “real people often prefer ease of use and a multitude of features to perfect, unbreakable security.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Encryption’s benefits are far-reaching, and essential in a world where most of our business and personal communications happen online. In addition, the volume of digital threats is increasing; Google saw a 32 per cent increase in the number of website hacks in 2016. Such breaches have enormous ramifications for both businesses and consumers, with investors losing £42 billion from hacking attacks on UK businesses since 2013.

Contrary to Rudd’s comments, this has fuelled a surge in demand from businesses for end-to-end encryption.

At Wire, we’ve seen three distinctive drivers for an E2EE business communications tool:

  • The need to protect customer data (healthcare companies, businesses in the legal and financial sectors, tax advisors and private banking)
  • The need to protect intellectual property amidst fears of growing industrial espionage, in particular with companies from the pharmaceutical, automotive and industrial sectors
  • The need to protect their internal communications (government institutions and M&A departments of large corporations, etc.), and communication with customers, the “real people”

In addition, end-to-end encryption will be a vital tool for companies next year when the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in May 2018. This will require companies to enforce greater levels of protection on their customer data, and securing communications channels is a vital part of this process.

As these use cases demonstrate, real people and businesses not only want the high level of security offered by E2EE, they need it, and are demanding it, and these demands will only increase as technology advances. For example, we’re likely to soon witness a need for E2EE for the Internet of Things, and for the management of self-driving cars.

Against a backdrop of growing digital threats, E2EE has become more important than ever, and its benefits should not be ignored.

Alan Duric, CEO and co-founder, Wire

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