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  • Email Provider Stands For Encryption After Being Praised By ISIS

    ProtonMail, the world’s largest secure email provider, reaffirmed its commitment to encryption after Islamic State named the company as one of its preferred methods of communication, International Business Times reported Nov. 24.

    “Our intent when creating ProtonMail was to improve online data security, and to also protect at risk groups such as democracy activists, dissidents, and journalists,” the company writes in a statement. “Our technology provides security and privacy to nearly a million people around the world. Unfortunately, technology does not distinguish between good and bad, so the same technology that protects democracy activists and dissidents can unfortunately also protect terrorists.”

    ProtonMail provides users with an end-to-end encrypted email account, which is a method of securing communication between parties where third parties are prevented from accessing the messages. The data is encrypted on the sender’s device and only the recipient is able to decipher it, thus “end to end.” (RELATED: Paris Attacks Put Congress ‘On A Collision Course’ With Silicon Valley)

    According to IBI Times, ProtonMail is one of many secure communications companies recommended by Cyberkov, a Kuwaiti cybersecurity firm, as a way for journalists and activists to stay safe online. The guide was then adopted by members of ISIS to conceal their plans for future attacks. (RELATED: Iran Cracks Down On Encryption, Arresting Administrators Of Secure Messaging App)

    After the attacks in Paris Nov. 13, legislators and law enforcement renewed calls to either outright ban encryption or create a “backdoor” into the encryption that allows select users access. They want to have the ability to gather intelligence from suspects who are using encrypted channels for communicating.

    So far, these calls have fallen on deaf ears in the technology community. Their concerns range from questioning the feasibility of  “backdoor” access in an encrypted communication to damaging their brand and bottom lines because the companies are deemed too friendly and compliant with the government. (RELATED: Paris Attacks Put Congress ‘On A Collision Course’ With Silicon Valley)

    “It is illusory to believe that you can block terrorists from communicating by banning encryption. With or without ProtonMail, terrorists will continue to have encrypted email capabilities, in the same way that they will continue to have access to weapons regardless of a ban on assault rifles,” ProtonMail states. “What we do know for sure is that banning encryption would certainly lead to an increase in cyberattacks, data breaches, and an end to online banking and online shopping. This is not to mention the numerous dissidents, journalists, and activists whose lives will be put at risk.”

    ProtonMail is not alone is extolling the virtues of encrypted communication in the face of rising pressure to curtail secure messaging.

    Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat are just a few of the other companies that do not support the weakening of encryption.

    We must remember that ISIS doesn’t just use ProtonMail, they also use Twitter, mobile phones, rental cars. We couldn’t possibly ban everything that terrorists use without disrupting democracy and our way of life, and in effect achieving the goal of terrorism…There are many ways to confront terrorism, we just don’t accept that giving up our freedom is the only way.

    Follow Steve Ambrose on Twitter

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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