How Can End-to-End Encryption and Online Safety Co-Exist?

End-to-end encryption and online safety have been among the key features of informational technologies for a while now.

However, several controversies developed over the end-to-end encryption technology as some people believe it should be weakened. Over the last several years, end-to-end encryption might have divided social media platforms, activist groups, and governments.

However, others disagree that privacy-protecting technology should be weakened and suggest several slight alterations could improve the technology and increase online safety for everyone. Security advocates are quick to react and emphasize the danger of encryption backdoors.

In this article, we dive deeper into end-to-end encryption and online safety to find out how they can co-exist in today’s world.

What is end-to-end encryption?

End-to-end encryption, or simply E2EE, is one of the leading data protection techniques. What makes E2EE unique is the special method of maintaining its users’ online privacy.

Namely, it encrypts content in the communications channels so that only the sender and the recipient can access it. It means any third part is excluded from the process and possibility of accessing data, including government agencies and platform providers.

As more and more internet users exchange valuable information online, they’re increasingly interested in keeping their information private and protected away from the prying eyes.

Therefore, it’s completely expected that most internet users perceive personal information protection as essential. For that reason, it is common for users to use privacy solutions like Atlas VPN to hide their internet activities and IP addresses. A Virtual Private Network encrypts the data traveling between your device and the internet. Thus, this cryptography prevents entities from reading your internet traffic.

The rise of end-to-end encryption

As one of the most reliable privacy protection approaches, it’s not surprising to hear E2EE grows in popularity each day. Companies and social media platforms are rapidly turning to E2EE as they want to make their customers feel safe and welcome.

Even the biggest enterprises, such as Meta Platforms, Inc. and Zoom Video Communications, Inc., are implementing E2EE technology across their platforms. Numerous platforms worldwide acknowledged the introduction of E2EE played a significant role in the growth of their platforms’ popularity and use.

According to many, E2EE should be deployed across all online communication providers to attract more users and guarantee their safety and security.

The issue with end-to-end encryption

Besides its various advantages, some concerns surround the widespread use of E2EE too. While E2EE is crucial for protecting users’ online privacy, it could motivate people to carry out harmful online activities as it gives them security.

For instance, harmful online activities can include cyber-crimes, hate speech, doxing, and many other actions. Since third parties, including government agencies and platform providers, can’t access the content, the safety of E2EE has been questioned on several occasions.

The issue of E2EE technology’s safety has been the foundation for multiple debates over the last few years. Governments worldwide are persuading platform providers to stop implementing E2EE and other technologies that prevent government agencies from reviewing the content and searching for illegal details with the granted authorization.

But by permitting government agencies and platform providers, the whole idea behind E2EE is shattered to pieces.

Can E2EE and online safety co-exist?

Even though the use of backdoors didn’t prove to be a viable option as this activity would go against the essential idea of end-to-end encryption, that doesn’t mean E2EE, and online safety can’t co-exist.

A potential solution could be just around the corner. IT and digital media experts believe it’s possible to implement end-to-end encryption technology while simultaneously granting online safety to internet users.

As governments and IT experts explore this idea in further detail, more of them are optimistic about the possibility of detecting harmful content without compromising the users’ online privacy. With the accelerated innovations and the use of correct technologies, it’s only a matter of time before an evolved E2EE technology granting the highest level of online privacy and safety is developed.

This would mark the beginning of something great, as users could witness a whole new level of privacy and safety when online.

A possible solution

A recently developed technology that seems to integrate the best features of E2EE having online safety in mind is homomorphic encryption. It carries out calculations on encrypted data without decrypting it. However, further research and development are necessary before homomorphic encryption becomes a feasible solution.

Other tools that control harmful content without decrypting information are possible, too, as they are mainly built to recognize the volume of sent emails.

Final thoughts

Although no solution perfectly balances out users’ online privacy and safety, tools that focus on these features are expected to emerge over the next few years rapidly.

With evolving technologies and more innovative solutions, it’s possible and highly probable end-to-end encryption and online safety will co-exist.