Encryption Strengthening the Internet

Announcing the Launch of the Global Encryption Coalition

Today, more than 30 civil society organizations joined in launching the Global Encryption Coalition, to promote and defend encryption in key countries and multilateral gatherings where it is under threat. The new coalition is led by a Steering Committee consisting of the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), the Internet Society, and Global Partners Digital.

“The spread of COVID-19 has underlined the necessity of secure, private internet communications. Those who are fortunate enough to have strong internet connections are likely sharing increasing amounts of sensitive data online. At the same time, governments around the world are considering policies that put the security of that data at risk,” said Greg Nojeim, CDT’s Senior Counsel and Director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project. “Encryption enables people to have private and secure digital lives.”

Working together with a membership that will quickly grow to include companies and technologists, CDT and the Coalition will help activists on the ground in key countries where it is under threat, like Canada, Australia, India, and Brazil, beat back proposals that would weaken encryption. “The Coalition will alert technologists to encryption threats around the world, and create mechanisms through which they can deliver expert analysis to mitigate those threats,” said Mallory Knodel, Chief Technology Officer of CDT.

“CDT is excited to have this opportunity to deliver expert analysis, global engagement, and a megaphone to support local efforts to protect encryption,” Nojeim added.

“The Internet Society is thrilled to be joining forces with the Center for Democracy and Technology and Global Partners Digital to form the Global Encryption Coalition,” said Jeff Wilbur, Senior Director of Online Trust at the Internet Society. “With a global health pandemic driving more of our daily activities and communications online, encryption is more important than ever to help keep people and countries secure. We look forward to working with a global movement of coalition members focused on promoting and defending the use of strong encryption policies and practices worldwide.“

We’re launching the Global Encryption Coalition with a series of free webinars on May 14 in five places around the globe. The events demonstrate how encryption helps people face the challenges that the current global health crisis has created.

Steering Committee Members
Center for Democracy and Technology
Internet Society
Global Partners Digital

Members (See full list of members.)
American Civil Liberties Union
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Affairs
Coalizão Direitos na Rede
Coding Rights
Committee to Protect Journalists
Derechos Digitales
Digital Empowerment Foundation
Digital Rights Watch
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Fundación Karisma
The Institute for Technology & Society of Rio
Instituto Nupef
Intervozes – Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social
IP.rec – Instituto de Pesquisa em Direito e Tecnologia do Recife
IRIS – Instituto de Referência em Internet e Sociedade
LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute
New America’s Open Technology Institute
Open Media
Open Rights Group
Paradigm Initiative
Prostasia Foundation
Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
Small Media
Software Freedom Law Center
Stiftung Neue Verantwortung

Encryption Strengthening the Internet

Encryption: The Digital PPE We All Need

In the midst of a global pandemic, Internet security can be a matter of life and death.

Think of how critical the Internet has been to address the COVID-19 public health crisis. It has allowed half the world fortunate enough to have access to stay on top of critical public health updates and stay in touch with loved ones at a safe distance. Some can even continue activities like distance education, work from home, and access vital telehealth services.

But what if it weren’t safe to do these things?  Would the world be as willing to follow social isolation measures?

Encryption keeps billions of people and countries secure online every day. It protects the integrity of news online, keeps your banking information out of the hands of criminals, and allows communications over messaging and videoconference platforms to stay confidential.

That’s a good thing. With people spending more time online than ever, cyber criminals are targeting the increasing amount of private data and commercially or government sensitive information traveling across the Internet. We’ve already seen proof in the corresponding rise in criminal activity over the last few months. The United States Federal Bureau of investigation, for instance, said cybercrime reports have quadrupled during COVID-19.

What’s even more frightening? Several governments worldwide are trying to undermine the encryption technologies that help protect people, industries and countries against these crimes.

Every one of these attempts to weaken our digital security – often some form of backdoor access proposal to give third parties access to encrypted data – is a major concern. Action by one country to weaken encryption threatens us all.

With global public health efforts driving more of our daily activities online, it’s up to all of us to make sure governments enable us to use the PPE we need to protect our digital health.

That’s why the Internet Society is proud to join forces with the Center for Democracy and Technology and Global Partners Digital to form the steering committee of the Global Encryption Coalition.

Together with over 30 civil society members, we’ll grow this global movement to include organizations, technologists, and corporations around the world working to promote and defend strong encryption policies and industry practices in key countries where it is under threat.

You can help. To celebrate the official launch of the Global Encryption Coalition on 14 May 2020, we’re hosting a global webinar event, “Health, Encryption and COVID-19: Keeping people and countries safer online.” This event will feature five webinars across the globe exploring how encryption helps people and countries navigate a global health crisis, and how we can stop proposals that could undermine the digital and real-life health and security of people and countries everywhere.

We’re already taking precautions to protect our health we couldn’t have imagined a few months ago. Let’s make sure we can use the PPE we need to protect our digital health as well.

Find out how you can do your part! Register for the Health, Encryption and COVID-19 webinar series today.

Image by Noah Matteo via Unsplash