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Technology 11 February 2019

The Week in Internet News: Google Moves to Make It Easier to Encrypt Cheap Android Devices

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Easier encryption? Google engineers have created a new encryption regime that can run on cheap and underpowered smartphones, Wired.com reports. The Google effort takes established cryptographic tools and implements them in a more efficient way.

Email encryption required: The EU’s GDPR privacy regulation requires encryption at least at the transport layer for email, according to a recent ruling by Germany’s data protection authority. The ruling also suggests that transport layer encryption may not be enough for sensitive personal information, TechDirt says.

Encryption proposal questioned: India’s proposal to require tech companies to hand over encrypted communications is “not possible,” WhatsApp has said. The proposed rules are “not possible today given the end-to-end encryption that we provide and it would require us to re-architect WhatsApp, leading to a different product, one that would not be fundamentally private,” WhatsApp said in a Financial Times story.

Federal action: The U.S. White House is planning to take executive action to promote research and development related to Artificial Intelligence, advanced manufacturing, quantum computing, and 5G wireless technology, Reuters reports. There’s some concern that the U.S. is losing ground to countries like China.

AI could go awry: Microsoft has warned investors that its AI efforts could go in a different direction than the company wants and could hurt its reputation, Business Insider reports. “AI algorithms may be flawed,” Microsoft wrote in a quarterly report. “Datasets may be insufficient or contain biased information. Inappropriate or controversial data practices by Microsoft or others could impair the acceptance of AI solutions. … Some AI scenarios present ethical issues.”

No. 1 in fake news: India has the most fake news and Internet hoaxes in the world, according to a survey by Microsoft, detailed in the Evening Standard. Sixty-four percent of Indians have encountered fake news, compared to 57 percent of world residents. In some cases, fake news in India has turned deadly, with more than 40 people killed in the country last year during what the paper called a “plague of smartphone-fueled mob murders.”

Encryption is under threat around the world. It’s up to all of us to take action to protect encryption, protect our data, and protect one another.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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