According to the McKinsey Global Institute, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day—that’s more than 90 times the information contained in all books ever written, and it’s growing by nearly 50 percent per year. This data presents a huge privacy problem that big tech companies aren’t equipped to solve. We need new encryption methods that make it possible to hide our data from even the people who collect it. Powerful encryption could be the solution we need to protect our private information in an increasingly data-driven world.
The Need for Privacy
Government surveillance has increasingly threatened the public’s right to privacy more than ever before. In fact, a recent poll conducted by CBS found that 86% of Americans think that they have lost control over their personal information and their ability to determine how and when it is shared. For all we know, today’s emails could be subject to spying tomorrow—our data has undoubtedly been exposed in the past with little to no warning or protection.
The Benefits of True End-to-End Encryption
Encryption is a crucial part of privacy in our digital world, but it has its limits. Most encryption methods keep prying eyes from reading what you send out but leave copies of your messages stored on your device for anyone to look at (this is why most people still use passcodes for their devices). End-to-end encryption keeps prying eyes from even seeing that you sent a message in the first place.
Challenges with Full Blown End-to-End Encryption in the Real World
Encryption is a vital tool for security, especially regarding the Internet. As the amount of data stored online increases, so does the need for encryption-but there are significant challenges that must be overcome before end-to-end encryption can become a reality. To encrypt each individual datum from point A to point B, one needs the public key of the person or entity who has requested the information and their private key to unscramble it.
Strategies for Overcoming these Challenges
The best way to encrypt large amounts of data is still being worked out. However, some proposed solutions include finding a new kind of encryption that can break down massive amounts of data or finding an alternative to sending all these vast files back and forth. Because big data is so valuable, there’s no question that work will continue on these challenges for years to come.
But even with these precautions, there’s no such thing as 100 percent security. Given that big data will get bigger and more central to our digital lives, we must find solutions for privacy and security. The robust encryption method could help. There are other potential ways forward too, but one thing is sure: As big data gets bigger and becomes a greater force in our digital lives, it’s time we get more thoughtful about privacy—or faces serious consequences.