This year marks the 10th anniversary of Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance in the United States. This accusation triggered various discussions in the world of Internet technology on countermeasures against intelligence agencies and malicious parties spying on Internet traffic, and in particular, the introduction and spread of encryption technology has rapidly progressed. Users, too, have become increasingly interested in encryption due to concerns about privacy and personal data protection.
However, the essential structure of society, which is called surveillance society or surveillance capitalism, has not changed. In Japan, unfortunately, the government’s comprehensive ID system, My Number system, and surveillance cameras with facial recognition in public spaces are widespread, and IT companies see business opportunities in security technologies that could infringe on privacy. And generative AI is spurring these trends.
In this seminar, we will look back at the decade since Snowden and first introduce the efforts that have been made in the Internet technology world to address the fears of a surveillance society. On the other hand, in response to these efforts, governments in Japan and other countries are beginning to actively take legal measures to regulate encryption for a variety of reasons in order to further enhance comprehensive surveillance capabilities.
We will then reaffirm the importance of encryption for the secrecy of communications, which is also the foundation of our human rights and democracy, and discuss what each of us can and should do.