Current Event: Tech Companies Are Fighting Against Law Enforcement to Protect User Data
Updated: May 23, 2019
Article by Alix Vadot
Companies are struggling to address citizens’ concerns relating to data privacy and ensuring that their users are seeing their data protected and trusting their platforms. Some of the largest tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Facebook, are facing particularly important challenges in this regard.
In December, the Australian government passed a law to facilitate governmental access to user data by compelling companies to hand it over. The UK passed a similar law, and India is considering a law that would grant authorities access to data from WhatsApp messaging data. The U.S. has not shown signs of implementing such laws but has not yet given up its three-year ongoing battle to gain access to encrypted devices such as Apple’s.
Companies are also fighting to maintain user privacy and ensure individuals’ data is not freely relegated to the government by giving the government the ability to constantly monitor private conversations. Meanwhile, governments worry that allowing for encryption of private data by these companies may lead to a dangerous world, in which governments are unable to adequately perform their policing work and prevent attacks or convict criminals.
Companies fear the ban on data encryption will instead create a back door for hackers who could make malicious use of this data: companies including Facebook (which owns WhatsApp), Apple, Google, Twitter and Microsoft, filed comments with the Australian government warning of this potential effect.