A highly respected cryptographer and security expert is warning that David Cameron's proposed ban on strong encryption threatens to "destroy the internet."
Last week, the British Prime Minister told Parliament that he wants to "ensure that terrorists do not have a safe space in which to communicate."
Strong encryption refers to the act of scrambling data in such a way that it cannot be understood by anyone without the correct key or password — even law enforcement with a warrant, or the software manufacturer itself. It's used in some of the most popular tech products in the world, including the iPhone, WhatsApp messenger, and Facebook.
But amid heightened terror fears, Cameron says "we must look at all the new media being produced and ensure that, in every case, we are able, in extremis and on the signature of a warrant, to get to the bottom of what is going on."
The Prime Minister first indicated that he would try and clamp down on secure communications that could not be decrypted by law enforcement even with a warrant back in January, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris. His comments sparked an immediate flurry of condemnation from privacy and security activists, but his recent statements show he's not backing down. (Number 10 has not responded to requests for clarification about Cameron's comments.)
Business Insider reached out to Bruce Schneier to discuss the feasibility of Cameron' proposed ban on "safe spaces" online. Schneier is a widely respected crypography and security expert and fellow at the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, serves on the board of digital liberties pressure group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and writes frequently on encryption and security. He didn't hold back.