With email encryption being targeted by the government as if it was criminal activity (read the story about the Lavabit platform shut down by the government because it was used by Edward Snowden in the recent NSA leak), this could be a great opportunity for mathematicians and data scientists: creating a startup that offers encrypted email that no government or entity could ever decrypt, offering safe solutions to corporations who don't want their secrets stolen by competitors, criminals or the government.
Here's the kind of email platform that I have in mind:
Indeed, the government could create such an app and disguise it as a private enterprise: it would in this case be an honeypot app. Some people worry that the government is tracking everyone and that you could get in trouble (your Internet connection shut down, bank account frozen) because you posted stuff that the government algorithms deem extremely dangerous, maybe a comment about pressure cookers. At the same time, I believe the threat is somewhat exaggerated. While there is a risk for false positives, you will never be sent in jail for talking about pressure cooker recipes (at worst, you'll get a visit from the NSA - someone indeed did). While big data and big brother are getting bigger and more powerful every second, the number of available cells in prison is not increasing. Maybe it is even decreasing. So even if magically, millions of people suddenly wanted to become law enforcement, NSA, CIA or FBI agents (and the money was available to train and hire them), there is just simply not enough prison cells to accommodate more prisoners (US has the largest prison population of any country, measured as the proportion of people incarcerated at any given time).
On the other side, many people seemed to be OK with increased regulations and more police. I think this is a side effect of living in an over-crowded world, with unsustainable population growth: the younger generation accepts or is forced into lower quality of life, having to share a small apartment with many roommates in over-crowded cities. They are more risk-adverse on average, and worry about all sorts of real issues such as increased terrorism, the risk of an epidemics, giant financial systems that could collapse under their own weight, pollution killing people at a younger age, etc. I believe eventually people will find solutions to escape from this environment, maybe by building floating cities, cities under the see, or underground cities. In my case, after many years of cubicle life and the morning and afternoon rat race (AKA the commute), I no longer drive to work, and have a much better lifestyle working from home 100% of the time - for the safest job one could ever wish to have: one that you created yourself, an adaptive, lean, agile enterprise that you founded yourself with a few great partners. But this is another story.
Anyone interested in building this encryption app? Note that no system is perfectly safe. If there's an invisible camera behind you, filming everything you do on your computer, then my system offers no protection for you - though it would still be safe for the recipient, unless he also has a camera tracking all his computer activity. But the link between you and the recipient (the fact that both of you are connected) would be invisible to any third party. And increased security can be achieved if you use the web app from an anonymous computer - maybe from a public computer in some hotel lobby.