There is a wide spread opinion about high demand for secured communication means among criminal structures representatives or participants of terrorist organizations. This question is hard to question when you do not have any statistics at your hand, so let’s just move on to assumptions.
The basic assumption could be as follows: there’s no a single fact confirming growth of organized crime and terrorism caused by the use of messengers. But there are facts confirming that such digital communication means help to prevent illegal activities. Quite recently there has been a story about disruption of a large international drug-trafficking organization that used to use an encrypted messenger with a unique crypto smartphone to coordinate its activity. The device that used to be made-to-order lacked a microphone, a camera and even a browser. The gadget’s only available function was secret text chats.
It didn’t help. Besides the cartel’s participants police arrested the owner of the business producing user devices who, according to law-enforcement agencies was taking an immediate part in the group’s activity.
Another basic assumption: messengers do help to fight with crime in a more effective way since an undercover agent is much more easily able to creep into a mafia gang virtually – say, by taking possession of an organization’s active member’s device either with his consent or without. Minimum risk for maximum information within a single unit of time.
And of course, law enforcement agents do know the cost of such failures as well as representatives of the criminal world. That’s why mafia makes the most significant decisions offline. And the main criminal rulings are transferred in traditional ways what has been unchanged for over hundreds of years. We can take this outcome as another assumption but it sounds more like an axiom.
Neither Boko Haram nor Taliban complain about absence of the internet and messengers in the places that are under total supervision of these terrorist organizations. The peak of heroine production in the Golden triangle fell on the end of the previous century when secret messages used to be written with milk on the papyrus paper. Columbia became a major cocaine producer at the time of the first messenger – and these two evens are not in the least interrelated.
So, who is the one wanting online communication privacy?
First of all, it is those who live within hard religious or clan restriction frameworks. It might sound weird but some of the countries with low legal culture already have broadband internet and a flippant emoticon sent to the wrong addressee – and a well-mannered married woman can be publicly executed on the main city square. It is reality and the need for encrypted communication means for the citizens of such regions is a reality as well.
The reality is a number of civil wars and ethnical conflicts where society get divided into ‘ours’ and ‘others’ in the most unpredictable way. And where the cost of a word is ultimately high. To cut a long story short it is where it is vitally important.
Reality is running a business in developing countries where markets and regulations are just starting to form. In places where a millionaire losing a smartphone loses his business at the time.
Examples like these can be found in abundance.
However, if we try to peek into the future we might notice a barely perceptible trend which can be tentatively called ‘demand for personal space’. Today our civilization is seriously starting to contemplate on every human’s right to deny a foreign morality tale; right to go against society; right to lead a double life, for Christ’s sake! Or at least to have an ad-free life.
The smart portion of the humankind is going to strive for its personal touch and to gain it. Others might not even survive.
The former ones need encrypted messengers.