Fred Ghahramani, founder of Just10, says global surveillance laws are a 'false dichotomy' as the risks presented are far greater than what is gained for the average citizen.
In an interview with SCMagazineUK.com, Ghahramani said government surveillance is a deeply emotional topic for him, having grown up in Iran under the rule of the Khomeini, and having some of his family members killed in terror attacks.
Ghahramani told SC that, “growing up in Iran, I was looked at as fifth column scum, as I was seen to be the wrong kind of ethnic minority.”
As an engineer and serial entrepreneur, Ghahramani is now trying to promote the use of private chat services, as he has witnessed the effects of government surveillance, and legislation like the Investigatory Powers Bill.
He explained, “it's not like it hasn't been tried elsewhere, but in places like Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, and countless other repressive regimes. They closely filter all aspects of their internet traffic and demand backdoors and ban non-compliant services whenever they can.”
In an attempt to make a case against bulk data collection powers, Ghahramani says, “increasing espionage over hundreds of millions of law-abiding users does not increase security but puts us all at risk. Law enforcement experts have warned that government agencies can't possibly effectively police or monitor that much data, meaning they will become bogged down in irrelevant information and unable to respond to pertinent information that is more credibly obtained.”
“Not one government around the world has been able to properly make the case for bulk data collection powers”, says Ghahramani which is why he wants to lead the way in seeing end-to-end encryption being the de-facto standard for chat apps.
Take, for example,a recent speech given by Lord Hague of Richmond, at InfoSecurity Europe 2016 where he took the stance of “you'll just have to trust us” in response to scepticism of incoming surveillance powers. .
Hague argued that as the government is not able to comment or divulge any specific information regarding how much the government does actually spy on us, we'll just have to take his word for it due to the kind of things government surveillance has actually stopped.
The central problem in this debate of “who watches the watcher?”, said Ghahramani, has yet to be solved.