Security vs. Surveillance

  • Encryption secures our data and communications against eavesdroppers like criminals, foreign govs and terrorist.
  • Many technological failures today could be traced to failure of encryption. E.g. if encryption was in place, probably Chinese gov could not have stolen 21.5 million records from OPM.
  • Adding backdoor to encryption (or any other security mechanism) is a really bad idea. I gov can use that backdoor, so can other govs, and criminals. E.g. Google kept a backdoor access in a database for US gov which was breached by Chinese gov in 2009.
  • Encryption can be used by both good and bad people. Bad people like terrorist can hide under encryption. However, encryption has much more good use than bad use.
  • Security or surveillance? Security is far more important. (Susan Landau, 2013)
  • Trade-off with backdoors is not security vs. privacy, but less security vs. more security.


Bruce Schneier in MIT Technology Review


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