The Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition — which includes Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Yahoo! — has announced a new core principle on encryption. Dubbed “Ensuring Security and Privacy through Strong Encryption,” reads in full:
Strong encryption of devices and services protects the sensitive data of our users – including individuals, corporations, and governments. Strong encryption also promotes free expression and the free flow of information around the world. Requiring technology companies to engineer vulnerabilities into their products and services would undermine the security and privacy of our users, as well as the world’s information technology infrastructure. Governments should avoid any action that would require companies to create any security vulnerabilities in their products and services.
As more and more personal and sensitive data is transmitted over the Internet and stored in the cloud and on personal devices, RGS — a a coalition of tech companies that advocates for common sense government surveillance reform —states that it believes that strong encryption is vitally important. Strong encryption helps protect the privacy of our users, promotes and enables strong cybersecurity, and protects against malicious or criminal activity.
RGS acknowledges that government leaders around the world are responsible for protecting the safety and security of their citizens, and that they increasingly seek to access electronic communications and data in their investigations. However, The group “respectfully disagrees” with calls for legislation or regulations that would require companies to intentionally build security vulnerabilities into their products and services. RGS says it will continue to work collaboratively with policymakers to seek out common sense solutions that are consistent with established norms of privacy, free expression, and the rule of law.
The Reform Government Surveillance group has previously had this to say:
We support making sure that law enforcement has the legal authorities, resources, and training it needs to solve crime, prevent terrorism, and protect the public. However, those things must be carefully balanced to preserve our customers’ security and digital information. We are ready and willing to engage in dialogue about how to strike that balance, but remain concerned about efforts to prioritize one type of security over all others in a way that leads to unintended, negative consequences for the safety of our networks and our customers.
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