Encryption ‘Critical To Web Security’ Says Twitter Chief Jack Dorsey


Governments need to understand the problem before fixing on a solution, said the tech mogul.

Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, claimed that encrypting messages was “critical” to the security of web services, he defended technology firms following last week’s Westminster terror attack.

Dorsey said that it was vital for governments to understand the problem they were trying to solve before fixing on a solution. He stated: “Encryption, and security in general, is often seen as an endpoint, which it’s not. It’s a constant evolution, so you’re constantly making it better, you’re constantly making it stronger. I do think it’s critical. But what’s more important is making sure that we’re having an open dialogue with the government around what they’re asking for, and why.”

He continued saying: “We should make sure that we really understand the goal, and what problem we’re actually trying to solve, and then look at the full horizon of solutions and what each one means for both parties.”

A safe place for terrorists?

This statement comes in the wake of Home Secretary Amber Rudd accused messaging app WhatsApp of creating a “secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other”.

Several online services, like WhatsApp, use encryption to guarantee that messages cannot be intercepted after being sent, and only the intentional recipients are able to read them.

The Westminster attacker Khalid Masood had used WhatsApp right before launching his rampage that killed four people outside Parliament.

Security services are unable to find out what he wrote because the message was encrypted.

Internet companies should exert more effort in removing content from their platforms, the Home Secretary added. She will hold a meeting with the heads of Twitter, Facebook and Google on Thursday for discussion.

During the second half of 2016, Twitter said it had removed nearly 377,000 accounts promoting terrorism according to its latest transparency report.

Encryption has come under attack before following a major national security incident, following 2011’s London riots and 2015’s shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, David Cameron criticized BlackBerry Messenger and WhatsApp for their use of encryption.

The importance of encryption:

But encryption is vital to the safe running of the internet, according to Silicon Valley chiefs. Adding that weakening or breaking encryption would put web users at a much greater risk.

Senior security evangelist at Avast, Tony Anscombe, said “Banning encryption in order to get to the communications of a select few opens the door to the communications of many, and renders us all less secure and our lives less private.”

“It would be naïve of us to think that by removing the public methods of encryption which we use to protect our identity, our freedom of speech and to keep us safe from persecution, that those terrorist organisations will not develop alternative methods to encrypt their communications.

“If this were to happen, we’d only be pushing these people further underground, presenting a greater challenge to security intelligence services.”