In a way, we’re implementing a fundamental technological advancement not dissimilar from the invention of cars or airplanes. Ford and Toyota build automobiles so that the entire world can have access to faster transportation and a better quality of life. If a terrorist is suspected of using a Toyota as a car bomb, it’s not reasonable to expect Toyota to start screening who it sells cars to, or to stop selling cars altogether.
And yet, this is the line of questioning that has besieged the cryptography community immediately after the Paris attacks. A simple mention of my encryption software in an Arabic-speaking forum is enough to put me on the receiving end of press inquiries such as “are you aware of any terrorists using your software? Do you feel it’s your responsibility to monitor terrorist activity?” Or, more bluntly, do I feel like I’m complicit in aiding terrorists, by the simple fact that I write cryptography software or currently do PhD research in applied cryptography?
-One of the best pieces I’ve read in a month. More here. Short.