By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
Internet Society Liberia Chapter has embarked on a massive sensitization and awareness initiative on End-to-end encryption aimed at educating Journalists, human rights activists, political advocates on data privacy. The gathering will pursue to prevent government from silencing and spying on critical voices and information across the country.
On Wednesday, October 12, 2022, Internet Society Liberia Chapter, President Mr. Matthew Roberts held interaction with several journalists, civil and political rights activists and universities students on encryption.
He visited the University of Liberia campus where he spoke at the political palava hot with several students on the important of end-to-end encryption and appeal for them to form part of the training and indoor program on encryption scheduled for October 21, 2022.
Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, Mr. Roberts said that Liberia’s critical information technology infrastructure depends on information networks to operate.
Encryption is the process of converting information or data into a code, especially to prevent unauthorized access from outside source except the person the information is written to.
‘’Journalists working on sensitive stories and information need to ensure that their communication are kept private in order to preserve the integrity of their stories and to protect the identity of their sources. This is particularly important when stories involved people speaking out about government or law enforcement’’ Mr. Roberts pointed out.
He said that without strong encryption, corruption and abuse of power would be allowed to continue without media scrutiny, urging all to join hands and fight for end-to-end encryption.
This month is celebrated globally as encryption Awareness Month 2022 to educate the world on the End-to-end Encryption, which aimed the lodestar to Safe communication Online. However, the Internet Society Liberia Chapter in Collaboration with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication is expected to host the indoor program on October 21.
He noted that Liberians rely on this infrastructure for interaction in society, including social, political, and civic actions to increase the likelihood that their voices be heard, adversarial actors such as hackers, terrorist groups, fishing phishing can cause potential injury to citizen’s businesses and potentially bring the nation to its knees by attacking critical information technology infrastructure through invading individuals or institutional privacy.
“The worse is when governments are given the power to make laws that allow governments to invade the privacy of people and institutions to check for what is believed to be sensitive national information. The extreme peril to a democratic society takes several shapes varying from the breakdown of election machinery to the manipulation of voters through fake news, disinformation and misinformation, the targeting and destruction of candidates through private information hacking, creation of inauthentic groups to generate or exacerbate conflict, and the creation of chaos and disruption to discredit the democratic model or invade the privacy of people’’ he noted.
He said that the campaign further intends to provide people with information on how individuals decode their secret messages, adding that In the end, they will discover the very simple principles behind encryption as a way of creating an entry-level that is easy for them to try.
‘’The second Global Encryption Day takes place on 21 October 2022. Last year, we highlighted the importance of encryption and how it protects people online. Since then, we have seen intensified attacks on end-to-end encryption from governments around the world who view it as a hurdle for law enforcement agencies. But systematically weakening people’s digital safety is not the answer. Weakening end-to-end encryption (E2EE) would do little more than create a speed bump for criminal activity but would create significant security vulnerabilities that affect us all’’ Mr. Roberts added.
Continuing, he said Instead, politicians are calling for shortcuts like client-side scanning. It should be impossible to monitor private communications on platforms that use end-to-end encryption. To make our lives safer, we need more businesses to offer E2EE on their products and services. Any attempt to scan or review content, or introduce traceability fundamentally undermines the purpose of end-to-end encryption”, Roberts stressed further.
Mr. Roberts said that it means that conversations between two parties become available to three or more parties. It means there is now an uninvited stranger in the room, listening to what people are saying without their knowledge or consent.