One of the world’s leading experts in data security and privacy, Bruce Schneier, called on consumers to learn how to encrypt their digital communications to evade what he describes as constant, unregulated, mass corporate and government surveillance of personal data.
“There are tools that are easily searchable that you can use to protect your privacy,” Mr Schneier said.”I recommend using them all. I recommend encrypting your hard drive, encrypting your cell phone.There are apps so that you can make sure you use an encrypted link between you and your web server; there are apps for encrypted messaging.”
Last week Australian Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledged he used the secret messaging service, Wickr, which encrypts and then destroys messages. (Yeah well that fits, but is it legal for a Govt Minister to destroy his communications?)
“We’re giving away a lot of privacy,” Mr Schneier said. “The ‘nothing to hide, nothing to fear’ argument is ridiculous. Privacy is not about something to hide. Privacy’s about human dignity, privacy’s about individuality. Privacy is about being able to decide when we show ourselves to other people.
“The harm is being under constant scrutiny.We know that people who are under constant surveillance are more conformist, they’re less individual, less free.”
While people have questioned the extent of government surveillance, there was too little discussion about the vast streams of personal data being logged every day by corporations and often given to governments, Mr Schneier said.
“I think of it as the public-private surveillance partnership,” he said. “It’s really hard to separate the two because data the government collects, corporations use; data that corporations collect, governments use.They both help each other, they support each other.”