Edward Snowden calls on tech companies to come up with encryption solutions that can secure communication from end to end. Mr. Snowden is the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a massive of US classified information making worldwide headlines and is currently wanted by the US government. 

During this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) event, the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor did hold a streamedquestion-and-answers session. It was an invite-only that was attended by about 30 tech space leaders such as CEO of Cloudflare, Matthew Prince, Senior product Counsel at Twitter, Matthew Zimmerman, and Evernote’s Phil Libin.

This was a departure from the same event in March 2014, where Mr. Snowden addressed a significantly larger crowd.

Snowden’s Call

While the reason for this change isn’t clear yet, it is emerging from those who attended the 2015 encounter that the topics remained within what Mr. Snowden is passionate about. And that is the protection of private citizens from mass surveillance.

According to Sunday Yokubaitis, one of those in attendance, he did call on tech companies to come up with encryption solutions that can secure communication from end to end. Decentralized communication platforms modeled on Bitcoin could be what he had in mind.

He said that for such services to work, the encryption has to be used in mass levels. This is because a few people using it invite suspicion on themselves.

Mr. Snowden’s calls come when many companies and startups are working towards making it difficult for third parties to hijack communications or collect personal data without permission.

Edward Snowden at SXSW


With that said, the likelihood of data leak does not go away with the arrival of a secure platform; this is true at least going by history.

An excellent example in this regard is Lavabit. The once successful secure email service provider was forced to suspend its operations in August 2013 when it could not stand pressure to surrender its private keys to authorities in the US.

In fact, this happened due to suspicion that Snowden had used its servicesto communicate securely with journalists regarding the NSA documents he intended to leak.

In a nutshell, this proved that single points of trust will always turn into single points of weakness.

Answers from Bitcoin

On the other hand, a secure public-private key communication channel that does not rely on a central point of trust but a network of individual users could be more resilient. In essence, a hybrid of theInternet Relay Chat (IRC) and Bitcoin, the latter tightening security from end to end.

In addition, a combined higher computing power that can take on what government agencies such as NSA use for cryptanalysis. Of course, it is no secret that few private entities can compete with government expenditure in this area.

For instance, there are reports that NSA set aside about US$85 million in 2013 alone for building quantum computing capabilities.

Indeed, to achieve a secure end-to-end communication channel for everyone, we may need to look beyond tech companies and startups. And the technology behind Bitcoin may be the right place to look. 

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