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Encryption: Why It Matters

DATA IS INCREASINGLY CENTRAL to our personal lives, economic prosperity, and security. That data must be kept secure. Just as we lock our homes, restrict access to critical infrastructure, and protect our valuable business property in the physical world, we rely on encryption to keep cybercriminals from our data. Proposals to regulate this crucial form of protection — however well-intended — could weaken our security.

Software continues to spark unprecedented advances that transform the world around us. From life-saving medical breakthroughs, to safer transportation, to enabling global economic transformation, our lives are improving in countless ways through the ubiquity and utility of data powered by software.

Digital security is becoming increasingly important to protect us as we bank, as we shop, and as we communicate. And at the core of that security lies encryption. As our lives increasingly move online, everyone should be doing more to improve the digital security of data, not less. Our digital world is constantly under attack by cybercriminals:

Data breaches exposed at least 423 million identities in 2015 — increasing by more than 20 percent in just a single year.

Americans worry about hacking — of their credit card information, phones and computers — more than any other crime. And for good reason: nearly half of American adults have been hacked.

Encryption In Our Daily Lives

ENCRYPTION IS A PART of almost every service or device we use to live our lives online. Every day, often without us even being aware of it, encryption keeps our personal data private and secure. Encryption is a vault that secures our personal information that is held by businesses and government agencies. It is a lock that prevents identity thieves from stealing our information when we log on to our bank accounts. It is an extra layer of security to safeguard our critical infrastructures. And it is a secure envelope that keeps hackers from reading our personal communications. Encryption is all of these things and more:

Use of encryption continues to rise, with more than onethird of businesses in one recent survey reporting that their organization uses encryption extensively.

Use of encryption is steadily shifting to a strategic activity, with organizations moving to an enterprise-wide encryption strategy.

Government rules — around patient data, financial transactions, and consumer information — frequently require companies to encrypt the data they hold.

Securing the data at the heart of our modern economy is a never-ending effort tied to multiple, interconnected parties. This involves not just the software companies that create products and services but the consumers who rely on those products and services to power their daily lives, the companies that encrypt human resources, sales, or other data, and even the law enforcement officials who investigate crimes. With so many interests at stake, it is vital that discussions about the future of encryption involve all perspectives.

What the Experts Say

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