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Internet encryption co-creator says net neutrality repeal could let ISPs block his invention

Security pioneer: Net neutrality repeal means encrypted apps could get blocked


The Federal Communications Commission Thursday voted to repeal the net neutrality rules put into place during the Obama administration.

Now, you’ve heard the argument that this repeal gives internet service providers control over the speed or availability of your favorite services and sites. But, according to one internet security pioneer, it has the chance of putting your privacy in their hands, too.

"They want to know what you’re searching on, what you’re saying," public-key encryption co-creator Martin Hellman told Circa. "And if you add encryption, they are not able to derive as much revenue from you."

It’s no secret that internet services bank off of the information you feed them that they can turn around and sell, whether that be public posts, web searches or content clicks. Transferring messages and data through services like Facebook Messenger or Telegram, however, where only the sender and receiver can see them, means ISPs have less content to collect on you.

Though Hellman doesn’t know for sure that unregulated ISPs would choose to block services that use his invention, he’s also not the first to fear for its safety if net neutrality isn’t upheld.

Of course, Hellman has more general concerns about repealing net neutrality that go beyond the fate of encryption, as explained in the letter to the FCC that he and many other internet pioneers signed this week.

"Unless you trust your ISP not to take advantage of this new opening, saying, 'Here, do what you want. Charge what you want to whomever you want how you want,' it’s a very dangerous move," Hellman said.

With the wheels now in motion on a net neutrality repeal, internet users, those who like their encryption and others, will have to wait to see how the ISPs will proceed.

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