News & Articles

February 2015

  • Using encryption to protect data privacy could have paradoxical impact

    Using encryption to protect data privacy could have paradoxical impact

    By CHRIS DALBY BRUSSELS – Apple, Google and Facebook say they intend to enable encryption on mobile phones to create absolute privacy for users – an objective that British Prime Minister David Cameron says must not create "means of communication which [the UK] cannot read." If Cameron is re-elected and bans the practice, it would be a strong indicator that less-than-impervious cryptology may be roaring back onto the political agenda, despite calls by whistleblower Edward Snowden and others to leave it alone as a guarantee of privacy. Such was the predominant view during the session, “Crypto Wars Reloaded”, at the 2015 Computers, Privacy & Data Protection Conference held here on 21-23 January. The three-day event, organised by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, covered a daunting range of privacy and data protection topics. “It is clear that encryption has become essential to protect data or metadata, and to have backdoors in these systems is completely unacceptable,” declared Bart Preneel, cryptography professor at Belgium’s Catholic University Leuven (KUL) and member of KUL’s “Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography” research group. For Preneel, cryptography needs to be standardised for everyone “so that all are equally secured”. However, Seda Gürses – coordinator of Security and Privacy in Online Social Networks, a project funded by the Flemish government – argued the topic from a very different angle. The more crypto intrudes into general life, she said, then the more that... Read More »
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