Gabriel Yoran
Gabriel Yoran, founder and CEO of Steganos Software GmbH

The most surprising thing about the Anglo-American eavesdropping programs is that hardly anyone is really surprised. In February, Steganos conducted a survey of its users in which 61% said that government agencies could or would want to read their communications in any form.

“Knew that anyway”, “I’m not surprised”, “Did you expect anything else?” – these are some typical reactions from Steganos users. Outrage has been reserved for the politicians trying to take advantage of these overseas surveillance activities for their election campaigns.

Of more concern is the general disinterest: the surveillance is a long way away, I’ve got nothing to hide – and if the intelligence agencies want to, they’ll always find a way. That sounds like resignation.

But it’s totally misplaced. For 16 years, we have been fighting for attention for our admittedly brittle topic: privacy. And it’s never had such a big stage. The question as to why friends spy on each other is being discussed at the highest level. “And the paradigms are falling like flies”, is the initial explanation given by the CSU or “data protection party“. On the first day of the hearing into the future of the data retention, European judges berated the representatives of systematic connection data storage: it has not been proven that such disproportionate measures really do help to solve or even prevent really serious crimes.

Julian Assange, of WikiLeaks fame, reminded us in the Guardian on Tuesday of the increase in historical significance encryption has experienced in recent years. Encryption is the only scientifically proven protection against surveillance, no matter by whom.

Our communications are recorded so shamelessly because we, the Internet users, have made it so easy for the intelligence services. We send our data in plain form over the Internet. Let’s surprise our local spying agencies by encrypting our emails and files, regardless of the software we use to do it. Dare to show that you have not given up being a citizen that fights for your right to privacy. And it only takes a few mouse clicks.