Security of users is paramount. Technology companies need to do everything in their power to ensure the security of their users and build products and services with strong security measures in place to do that.
At Mozilla, it’s part of our mission to safeguard the Web and to take a stand on issues that threaten the health of the Internet. People need to understand and engage with encryption as a core technology that keeps our everyday transactions and conversations secure. That’s why, just days before the Apple story broke, we launched an awareness campaign to educate users on the importance of encryption.
The Apple vs. FBI case
We’ve supported Apple since we first heard of the FBI request to Apple because this case is about user security and public safety.
The government is requiring Apple to create a flawed version of its software without key security features. The precedent this sets could drastically affect our users and every technology company. This can cause ripple effects across the industry to other technologies and companies. And it would make it more likely that other governments would request the creation of this kind of flawed software. This situation is understandably emotionally-charged, but we don’t have the luxury of saying “just this one time.”
Last week, the FBI said in a brief that Apple purposefully created its products to be warrant-proof and that this fight is a marketing decision for Apple. The view that any company would design products with the goal of being “warrant proof” is ludicrous. Companies like Mozilla decide to create security features to protect users, keep the bad guys away and contribute to public safety, not to make their technology warrant proof. Unfortunately, making something that can be easily hacked by the FBI means making something that can be easily hacked by bad guys too.
Code is Speech
We also think that the FBI’s request raises serious concerns around the First Amendment and free speech. We said so in an amicus brief we filed earlier this month with a coalition of technology companies. For many technology companies their code represents their view on security. For Mozilla, as an open source company, because our code is made publicly available and guided by our Manifesto, it is an essential way we express our views about security and many other issues.
One of the most important things about this case is that it has created mainstream discourse about some very important topics relevant to all our users – encryption, user security and government access to data. Encryption is an essential and ubiquitous security tool and weakening our security tools undermines everyday Internet users’ security.
Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Chief Business & Legal Officer at Mozilla in conversation with Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager on the ongoing encryption conversation & the responsibility of tech companies to defend security.