Cyber activists from 42 countries issue open letter against software ‘backdoors’

January 11, 2016

Amid a sustained push by world governments to undermine secure digital communications, campaigners from more than 42 countries are making a concerted push to defend encryption.

An open letter issued on Monday, three days after senior Obama administration officials huddled with Silicon Valley titans to revive a relationship damaged by revelations of mass surveillance, demanded an end to global government efforts to compel the insertion or use of software flaws in encryption protocols called “backdoors”.

“Users should have the option to use – and companies the option to provide – the strongest encryption available, including end-to-end encryption, without fear that governments will compel access to the content, metadata, or encryption keys without due process and respect for human rights,” reads the open letter, signed by 195 experts, companies and civil-society organizations.

The letter, an initiative of the digital-rights group Access Now and posted to, urges governments not to “ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption in any form or otherwise prohibit the implementation or use of encryption by grade or type”.

It rejects government efforts to “mandate insecure encryption algorithms, standards, tools or technologies”.

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