As the Huawei saga rolls on, reports are surfacing that the Trump administration has selected its next tech target. The news that plans to ban end-to-end-encryption in the United States will come as a huge blow to apps like WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.
End-to-end-encryption is a security feature that ensures that messages sent between two parties on popular messaging apps can only be read by the sender and the recipient. Not even the WhatsApp (Facebook) can read your WhatsApp messages. This poses a problem for law enforcement, which senior officials in Trump's government reportedly say hinders the investigation of drug trafficking, child pornography, and terrorism.
The issue was the focus of a National Security Council meeting last week, where the debate about whether to ask Congress to effectively outlaw end-to-end encryption was held. End-to-end-encryption could become the center of the whole personal privacy versus state surveillance battle.
An anonymous attendee of the so-called Deputies Committee meeting, said: "The two paths were to either put out a statement or a general position on encryption, and [say] that they would continue to work on a solution, or to ask Congress for legislation."
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reported to be split on the issue of ending end-to-end-encryption. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is, as you might expect, understanding of the importance of encryption, however, the FBI and the Justice Department are more interested in catching criminals that protecting personal data, according to a report in Politico.
The United States is not the only nation where this debate is taking place. In Germany, too, Federal Ministry of the Interior Horst Seehofer (CSU), has spoken about wanting to ensure that security authorities have access to chats that are currently encrypted. With the launch of 5G, data privacy and encryption are going to be key issues of debate in governments around the world.
Where do you stand on the issue? What would the death of end-to-end-encryption mean for the general public?