TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – In the wake of Britain’s third deadly terrorist attack in less than three months, Prime Minister Theresa May focused her attention on cybersurveillance as an important part of the country’s plan to fight and deter terrorist attacks.
May called the Internet, “the safe space” that ideology of Islamist extremism needs to breed, and called for increased government spying of online communications as a counterterrorism tactic.
“As a private citizen, do we want a world where there is no possibility of privacy, like everybody can always be eavesdropped on in the name of homeland security? I don’t know if I like that world very much,” said Jeremy Rasmussen, director of cybersecurity and chief technology officer for Abacode.
“Secure communications means when you send a message to somebody else or you put in a user ID and password, it’s safe from eavesdropping by somebody else,” added Rasmussen. “But now, we’re talking about governments wanting to specifically backdoor this encryption technology, this secure communications technology, so they can see what’s going on in those communications, they know everybody’s username and password, they know everyone’s encryption key. They question is: if you can compel Google, Microsoft, Facebook and these large providers to backdoor their tech so that the government can eavesdrop on those communications, won’t the terrorists just go to somebody else that isn’t backdoored to a government?”
“You’re trading off privacy for security. Do we want a massive surveillance state such that they can watch and listen to every single thing looking for that needle in a haystack of a terrorist cell communicating?” he said. "There’s always an opportunity for an overreaching surveillance state to go past what they’re supposed to do constitutionally and abuse privacy, but we hope that’s not the case here.”