Jimmy Wales: Get Encrypted, Or Face The Consequences

Jimmy Wales has called on internet users around the world to embrace greater security, specifically end-to-end encryption, to ensure that their personal data and habits cannot be spied on.

“End to end encryption is really important, it’s something we really want to see,” the Wikipedia founder told IP Expo in London. “All major traffic will be encrypted soon – and that’s a good thing”.

‘Too late’

Wales was keen to discuss the role of governments in the security landscape and called the efforts of the UK government to ban end-to-end encryption as, “a moronic, very stupid thing to do.”

He also warned Prime Minister David Cameron that it was “too late” to do anything about it.

Censorship was also discussed, and Wales highlighted the fight that Wikipedia has had to endure in China, where the company has struggled to get its site live and accessible to users in the notoriously censuring state.

“We’ve made it a principle that we will never co-operate with the censorship of Wikipedia,” Wales said. “We’ve taken a strong stand that access to knowledge is a principle human right.”

Wikipedia has now moved to SSL encryption technology for all of its sites around the world, which means that the browsing of users can now not be detected by agencies or governments.


And this rise of SSL technology has led to a worldwide surge in awareness and acceptance of the need for greater security, according to Wales.

“There is a massive trend towards SSL… people are of a higher understanding that we need a safe and secure public internet…this is fundamental,” he stated, noting that it was no longer cost-prohibitive to encrypt all your data, thanks to advances in Moore’s Law advances and increased consumer understanding of the need for security.

Wales said that he ultimately believes that efforts by governments and other agencies around the world have actually made it harder to track individuals, as major news stories such as the Edward Snowden revelations have heightened the public’s sense of the need for security.

“Cyber security is a very good thing,” he said, “we have seen that people are mistrustful and moving to end-to-end encryption.”

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Mike Moore

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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