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“Impossible” to Ban Encryption Globally, Harvard Study Shows

By Chris Stobing Email | 12 February 2016 at 9:13 pm CET | No Comments

This week, a new Harvard study released to the public concluded that banning encryption in the United States could lead to catastrophic economic consequences on home soil.

The purpose of the study, entitled “A Worldwide Survey of Encryption Products,” was to attempt to catalog the entire library of encryption products that are available in the world today.

Of the 865 that the researchers cataloged, 546 of those were located outside of the United States. This means that no matter how much saber-rattling our Congressmen may do over the topic of terrorism and encryption, there’s simply no technical way one country would be able to squash out the encryption efforts of the entire globe.


A lot of hubbub has been made over terrorist’s supposed use of encryption to communicate details about the recent attacks in Paris, and in response many of the top governments in the Western world have cried out that we need a better solution than what we have now.

Of course, the war on encryption has only thwarted the US’ own attempts to revitalize its local economy. By placing stricter regulations on encryption domestically, the government has already shoved out encryption-based companies like Silent Circle. The business moved its headquarters to Switzerland in 2014, claiming that it was motivated by the fear that the FBI would soon be requesting private data on its users.

This is just the software side of things. If it becomes mandatory for networking hardware monoliths like Cisco to start putting a backdoor in their equipment, their international sales could drop to the point of total bankruptcy in a matter of months.

The short summary is that any laws which might attempt to reign in encryption could put our economy at serious risk, but if you want to read the entire paper you can do so at the link included here.

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Chris Stobing

Chris is a technology reporter from San Jose, California, right in the heart of Silicon Valley. Raised around tech from birth, he's found interests in gadgets and the companies that make them for years. When not blogging about tech, he can be found hunting for music, shredding the slopes in South Lake, or whipping up a dish for friends in the kitchen.

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