A police-run social media campaign has backfired, providing evidence for the need to understand how online discourse functions, and the importance of secure encryption.
The New York Police Department launched their “#UnlockJustice” campaign to gather support for backdoors and government exceptions around electronic encryption.
The campaign was quickly hijacked by tech users and security experts, who criticized the campaign for misunderstanding encryption, the presumption of innocence, and the internet itself.
The NYPD was also called out for using a name and tag that was already in use by an unrelated group: the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
People online are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of secure encryption: without it (or with lackluster attempts), valuable personal data is available for abuse by criminals.
Many have said that making mandatory backdoors (for the government) to circumvent encryption would weaken public security as a whole, and facilitate more crimes than it would help solve.
The decision to run an interactive campaign on a medium where the majority of users are likely to be against your platform may not have been the smartest of moves.
The lessons we can all take away from this? Be aware of the medium you’re launching a campaign on, and understand the industry’s need for security.