The Internet Exposed: Encryption, Backdoors and Privacy – and the Quest to Maintain Trust  Photo credit: Sareen Hairabedian The Internet Society / YouTube (Creative Commons)

Online Privacy Video Festival, Part 1

Deciphering the Basics of Cybersecurity and Encryption

Soon, critical decisions will be taken about how best to monitor bad guys -- while not intruding into the online lives of the rest of us. Here’s a primer on what it is all about. It’s a chance to learn and to weigh in — while there’s still time.

Your privacy vs. catching the bad guys?

The issue of Internet encryption came up during a Democratic debate in December. Hillary Clinton called for a “Manhattan-like project” — a reference to the effort in the 1940s that brought together the brightest minds in government and the private sector to build the atom bomb.

In this case (which, in a way, is also explosive), the goal would be to balance privacy concerns and business considerations with what law enforcement wants: a path past encryption to finger terrorists, criminals, and spies.

“I don’t know enough about the technology to be able to say what it is, but I have a lot of confidence in our tech experts,” said Clinton, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state, who should know a bit about the issue. After all, she famously used her own email server while she headed the State Department.

Clinton is not alone in her professed ignorance of the technology. That is why we at WhoWhatWhy want to help our readers better understand encryption and the related issues and pitfalls. Which include allowing government snoops access to everything everyone says or does on the Internet.

As an introduction to the subject, we offer this recent video. It provides viewers with a basic briefing on encryption, privacy and cybersecurity.

Part 1 is available here.

Part 2 is available here.

Part 3 is available here.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Graphics by Sareen Hairabedian in The Internet Society / YouTube (Creative Commons)


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