Once the secret domain of hard-core hackers and the military, encrypting data has entered the mainstream, with a series of gatherings designed to share data privacy with everyone, writes Andy Park.
"Cryptoparties are a really powerful example of how one activist in Melbourne has an idea and within days it's become a global phenomenon. It's a great case study in it's own right"
CRYPTOGRAPHY VS CYBERCRIME
But is it teaching cyber criminals to hide their tracks?
"Those who break the law have already probably learnt cryptography," says Asher Wolf.
“Maybe a year ago, there were people out there that though that if we just lobbied the governments hard enough, if we just lobbied businesses hard enough they would protect our privacy for us.”
Both the Australian Federal Police and the NSW Police declined to comment on Cryptoparties when approached by SBS for this story.
This, despite AFP's website reading "the increasing use and dependence on technology as one of the major influences on the domestic and international law enforcement operating environment".
Karwalski draws analogies about privacy as a kind of civil infrastructure.
"The same things goes for infrastructure like the roads, we can't say that the criminals can't use the roads. The same thing goes for encryption tools and privacy tools" Karwalski said.
"When you are describing these tools, people will put the argument that if you've got something to hide, you are doing something wrong. It's just not right.
“If you've got curtains on your bedroom windows it's because you've got something to hide, it dosen't mean you have been doing anything wrong, it's personal privacy," he said.
Asher Wolf says that it's about users taking charge.
“More and more people are looking at the legislation all around the world and the tools that governments and business use against them to harvest their data and invade their privacy and people have decided to take responsibility for their own privacy using legal means,” she said.
It's a trend that's seeing internet users learning how to be private, out in the open.
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