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Home Secretary questions public interest in online security

03 August 2017 - 10:30 by David Aiken

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Amber Rudd, current Home Secretary and Conservative politician, has caused controversy this week by claiming in an article that there is little public interest in encryption, especially when it comes to protecting digital messaging services.

The Huffington Post reports that Rudd’s comments focus on the idea that everyday internet users are less interested in the security of a website or platform than they are in its ability to operate conveniently and quickly.

This attracted a lot of criticism from industry experts and privacy campaigners, many of whom branded Rudd’s assertions as being potentially dangerous, as they seem to play down the threats that British consumers face without providing an adequate solution.

Big Brother Watch representative, Renate Samson, said that plenty of people wanted to be able to communicate securely and carry out safe shopping online without fear of succumbing to cybercriminal activities, or indeed government surveillance.

Rudd was also focusing on the role that social media sites play in allowing extremist messages to be distributed globally, stating that companies like Facebook and Twitter should take greater responsibility to monitor and eliminate problematic content rather than allowing it to spread.

A number of politicians have made the case for giving government agencies greater access to a variety of digital services, with encryption seen as a barrier to fighting terrorism. Others argue that encouraging tech companies to create ‘back doors’ to their sites and platforms will simply allow crooks to gain easy access and make it impossible to chat or carry out safe shopping online.

The fight for net neutrality and the claims that greater government involvement and regulation will limit freedoms for people around the world is an ongoing one. And with tech-savvy consumers making up the majority of the UK’s population, security must surely be a concern for almost everyone.