Global Encryption Day

October 21, 2022

Today is Global Encryption Day.

In one of his books, Issac Asimov describes a human society with pervasive technology. And with pervasive technology came pervasive surveillance, even in his fictional world.

So much so, that the people in his fictional universe reach a breaking point, and finding themselves losing their minds about the constant monitoring, decide to create a social contract -- no cameras and listening devices in bathrooms.

This social contract then gets translated to a law that then gets ruthlessly enforced. In that increasingly congested (spatially, and with technology) fictional universe, these "out of bounds" bathrooms provide sanctuaries for people to regain their bearings, and just be with themselves, even if for a short while every day.

We increasingly find ourselves in a universe similar to what Asimov described. Yet, luckily, we have a better alternative than locking ourselves in our bathrooms.


Encryption in this sense is even better than locking ourselves up, since it allows us to not just keep our data private, but also talk to each other freely.

The internet gave us the ability to talk to each other without geographical boundaries; the pervasive surveillence set up by governments and corporations made that ability hollow by snooping in; but the story has an happy ending. For mathematics comes to the rescue, and encryption restores our ability to talk freely over the internet (and also keep our data private).

This happy ending shouldn't be taken for granted though.

While it seems that people are beginning to vote with their wallets and move away from companies that seem to not understand the primacy of privacy, it is still not clear if we will collectively be able to ensure that our governments don't overreach.

So now we need people to vote with their ballots too, and bring to power leaders who curtail the state's encroachment of individuals' privacy.

Let's celebrate the existence of encryption today, and spread awareness about how it is a right that we should ensure does not get taken away from us.