Consumers Skeptical of “Five Eyes” Privacy Decision

National Security Agency

As Newsweek reported this week, “A long-running security alliance among the governments of the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand—also known as the Five Eyes—agreed last week that “privacy is not absolute” and custom techniques should be developed to circumvent encryption.”

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According to Venafi, consumers are highly skeptical of such moves. The company surveyed more than 3000 consumers from the US, UK and Germany.

Results included:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) suspected their government abuses its powers to access the data of citizens.
  • Respondents from the United States displayed the most concern; with 78% agreeing abuse may be taking place.
  • 65% said governments should not be able to force citizens to hand over their personal data, such as the contents of mobile phones, social media, email and online activity, without consent.
  • However, nearly a quarter (24%) of UK consumers believed their government should be able to access private citizen data without consent.
  • 68% said the government should not force private companies to hand over encrypted personal data without consumer consent.
  • Nearly half (41%) believed laws that provide government access into encrypted personal data would make them safer from terrorists.

Jeff Hudson, CEO of Venafi, stated: “Giving governments access to encryption will not make us safer from terrorism – in fact, the opposite is true. Most people don’t trust the government to protect data and they don’t believe the government is effective at fighting cybercrime. It’s ironic that we believe we would be safer if governments were given more power to access private encrypted data because this will undermine the security of our entire digital economy.”

Survey results can be found at: