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19 October 2021 | Updated on 19 October 2021

In the context of increasing criminalisation and pushbacks in internet users’ privacy, defending encryption is key to human rights. On 21 October, the world will have its first ever Global Encryption Day, when we will be telling governments and corporations that protecting and strengthening encryption is crucial to making the internet safer for everyone, especially journalists, human rights defenders, sexual rights activists and others whose right to freedom of expression is usually at higher risk.

Join us in setting encryption on the global agenda as a human rights issue!

Encryption is key to freedom of expression

Encryption is the process of making information unreadable by anyone except for the people who have the key or password to decrypt it. It helps create a privacy zone to protect opinion and belief, which makes it key to the enjoyment of human rights, including the freedoms of opinion, expression, association and the press. It is particularly relevant to journalists, who need to preserve confidentiality and anonymity in online communications.

In its latest resolution on privacy in the digital age, the United Nations Human Rights Council stressed the importance of encryption, pseudonymisation and anonymity to ensure the enjoyment of the rights to privacy, freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

What do encryption activists say about this?

"I consider encryption an essential tool for privacy and confidentiality. Governments and companies should be actively promoting and using encryption themselves, as there are actors after their data too.” (Natasha Msonza, Digital Society of Africa)

“We consider encryption key to making the internet safer. We demand that governments and businesses stop the use of backdoors as they compromise the privacy of users’ apps.” (Y. Z. Ya’u, CITAD)

“We consider encryption a key part of our movement’s struggle to regain democratic and community ownership of our data and technology infrastructure and development itself. At May First, we work to educate our members about the importance of data autonomy, of which encryption is a key component.” (May First)

Join us in raising awareness about the importance of encryption by covering the campaign that will go from 18 to 21 October. Here are some resources:
  • #MakeTheSwitch social toolkit here.

  • Some relevant messaging here and a list of useful resources on encryption here to help you build your article.

  • Read APC’s article on encryption and human rights here

More information

For interviews, coverage and other press inquiries, contact Leila Nachawati, APC’s media outreach lead:

Check our press section for press releases, publications, multimedia materials and a list of contacts from the APC community.