The Dutch Government Encourages Strong Encryption

It’s nice to start the new year with some positive news on the privacy front.  There are enough stories of countries like China taking action to weaken encryption and government officials in the UK and elsewhere pushing in the same direction.  In the face of the Paris attack companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook made it clear that weakening encryption would be bad for everyone.  In contrast, government officials in the Netherlands are coming out in favor of strong encryption.  They understand the need for strong encryption to help protect the privacy of Dutch citizens, companies, and the government itself.

Netherlands government

According to a statement (Dutch) issued Monday, the Netherlands is in full support of strong encryption to protect users privacy.  They see the threats in weakening encryption.  Whereas the Chinese plan to force companies to provide keys so they can monitor communications.  The Dutch see the flawed logic in giving away citizens privacy.  Ard van der Steur, the Minister of Security and Justice in the Netherlands, understands the importance of strong encryption in protecting the privacy of Dutch citizens, business, and the government.  He goes on to say that the Dutch government will not be taking action against the development or use of encryption in the Netherlands.  Both citizens and companies should respond by supporting the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is already a popular location for VPN users.  Popular VPNs often host a large number of servers in Amsterdam.  The government’s positive stance on encryption will undoubtedly bring more privacy-related companies into the country.  As governments take sides on the encryption issue, their economies are sure to grow or suffer based on the decisions they make.  The argument that you shouldn’t care about privacy if you don’t have anything to hide is failing.  Glenn Greenwald made a great point in a TED Talk in Finland.  He said his response to anyone with that argument is to send him the passwords to all your email accounts.  Not just those used for work, but also any account you’ve ever used.  Not surprisingly no one has taken him up on the offer.  Encryption isn’t about hiding criminal activities.  It’s about protecting our right to privacy.  We’re very happy to see the Dutch government taking a public stance in support of strong encryption.  Who will be next?

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