Encryption is vital to a safe, secure and functioning world.

Whether it’s private messages, banking and payments, air traffic control, video-conference sessions, connected baby monitors, e-prescriptions, secure browsing or e-voting, data must be protected against eavesdropping and tampering, and people must be protected against impersonation and fraud. Encryption is a vital tool for securing our lives in a digital society. From when you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night, you and your community rely on encryption every day.

How Encryption Works

Encryption is the process of scrambling or enciphering data so it can be read only by someone with the means to return it to its original state. It is a crucial feature of a safe and trustworthy Internet. Encryption keeps your identity safe and stops people from impersonating you or the people that you trust. It is also critical for national security, protecting society from terrorists, criminals, and hostile governments.

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Encryption under Threat

Encryption is a system. If part of the system is weakened, so is the system as a whole. There’s no point in having a strong lock on your door if the hinges are made of wax. However, some people want to introduce flaws into encryption systems and this makes encryption less safe for everyone.

Some law enforcement agencies, for example, are concerned that encryption stops them from getting the evidence or information they need. And some governments are putting the responsibility on companies to ensure that they can always gain access to users’ data, even if it is encrypted, via ‘backdoors’. ‘Backdoor access’ is often misleadingly referred to as ‘exceptional access.’ There is nothing exceptional about backdoor access. If any access mechanism exists, it will be vulnerable to exploitation by both law enforcement and bad actors.

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There’s no such thing as a backdoor that only law enforcement can access. Once created, it’s possible for bad actors to exploit these methods to access sensitive data. 

Find out more

What We’re Doing

Effective encryption is key to secure online communications for everything. Here at the Internet Society, we use our unique position to help everyone work together for a safe and secure Internet. 

As a trusted technical voice with a globally connected community, we bridge the gap between policymakers and the technical community. It’s our job to show everyone the dangers of weakening encryption technologies, and to build a global movement of people who are committed to protecting encryption. 

We work with local partners and with the Internet Society’s chapters, organization members and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to take action when threats against encryption arise.

How we stand up for encryption

Get Involved

From using end-to-end (E2E) encryption in your own communication, to advocating for it widely, everyone has a part to play in protecting encryption.

 

Participate

Participate

Get involved with the Global Encryption Coalition (GEC).

Learn how
Learn

Learn

Learn more about Encryption by taking our moderated training course.

Take a course
Use Encryption

Use Encryption

Find out how you can use encryption to protect yourself.

Protect encryption, protect yourself

Resources

Take a look at our comprehensive resources section. You’ll find factsheets, policy briefs, technical briefs and other materials to help you understand more about encryption. 

Encryption in the News

Encryption protects the marginalised – and it’s under threat
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In the News 14 October 2021

Encryption protects the marginalised – and it’s under threat

ComputerWeekly
Advocacy Groups Must Stand Up for Encryption—While They Still Can
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Encryption 14 October 2021

Advocacy Groups Must Stand Up for Encryption—While They Still Can

Encrypted messaging is indispensable for advocacy groups that use the technology to stand up for their communities. As new...

Make the Switch for Global Encryption Day 
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Encryption 13 September 2021

Make the Switch for Global Encryption Day 

Global Encryption Day on 21 October 2021 will put strong encryption firmly in the spotlight around the world to...

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