Snowden urges SA audience to fight for encryption

accreditation
(Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP)
(Kenzo Tribouillard, AFP)

Johannesburg - US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden believes that citizens need to push institutions for a right to encryption when communicating. 

Snowden was speaking via live-stream to an audience at a briefing on privacy rights and surveillance wrongs in Johannesburg on Monday.

“We need to highlight the importance of right to encryption and the only way we can win is by removing institutional capabilities and showing people that this is the way the world should work,” he said.

READ: Data encryption now urgent - expert

The event was hosted at the historic Women’s Jail at the Constitutional Hill complex, with the aim of providing an opportunity to discuss ways of challenging state surveillance at the domestic and international level with particular attention given to the right of encryption.

During the live-stream, Snowden was speaking with former Greenpeace international director, Kumi Naidoo. Snowden said that users were making headway in the use of encryption when online. 

READ: SA companies racing to lock the cyber door

“The new iPhone will offer better security while Android devices are less secure, making them easier to hack. But we are making headway because Mozilla, the company behind the FireFox, recently said that 50% of users were requesting encrypted versions of webpages,” Snowden said.

He added that there was a social value of privacy to having encryption. 

“Every person should have the right to encryption,” he said. 

READ: 6 ways WhatsApp encryption will affect you

Snowden acknowledged that while encryption prevented authorities from being able to investigate crimes and illegal activity, what he pushed for was the prevention of mass surveillance.

“People believe we are in the golden age of surveillance, but we don’t want authorities not to be able to investigate people. However, right now, things like medical devices are being hacked and the public is put at risk,” he said. 


Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.75
+0.4%
Rand - Pound
20.27
-0.5%
Rand - Euro
17.32
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.77
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.7%
Gold
1,750.02
-1.0%
Silver
22.70
+0.0%
Palladium
1,984.84
-2.2%
Platinum
1,003.62
+0.2%
Brent Crude
76.19
+2.5%
Top 40
57,643
+1.2%
All Share
64,049
+1.1%
Resource 10
57,254
+0.5%
Industrial 25
82,879
+1.7%
Financial 15
14,317
+1.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Limited access to restaurants and bars
11% - 127 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
14% - 165 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
26% - 301 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
48% - 552 votes
Vote