New Attacks on Privacy Show That Legal Solutions Cant Be Relied On

One of the core concepts that motivated me to create the OSTIF is the belief that the Internet is an enormous tool for good. In order for us to be able to enjoy the fruits of free information, we need to have agency over our data. Everyone in the world needs to be able to protect their private information, and share information that they wish to be public, and be aware of what information is public and what information is protected, and to what degree these things are shared.

There is a sentiment among supporters of these core ideas that there are legal solutions to these problems. There are some problems with this approach, namely that the expectation is that governments around the world are going to act in the interest of their respective citizenry. Evidence contrary to this is building up worldwide, as spying scandals pile up, draconian surveillance laws are proposed, and consolidation of power for Internet companies continues to centralize market forces for the entirety of the web.

This leads us to a logical conclusion. If we want to keep the Internet truly free, we need to build technological solutions to the surveillance problem. This means real encryption and real security baked into products that we use. Protocols and standards must be re-engineered with privacy in mind, and customers need to show that security is a feature that they demand.

Let me be clear and candid. Projects like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and institutions like the ACLU provide us with powerful legal representation that fight the good fight politically, but they can’t win every fight, and we need a perfect score to be able to justify the legal route as a privacy panacea.

Technological solutions revoke the ability for the companies and governments to choose whether or not their citizens get privacy. We need to rally support for the projects that are fighting the good fight to fix this increasingly real problem. Companies, Governments, Criminals, and Spies do not have a right to your data. You have a right to privacy. Support the projects in the trenches making this a reality.

VeraCrypt, Off the Record, GnuPG, Tor, NoScript, Debian, Qubes, Tails, CopperheadOS, OpenBSD (and OpenSSH)