Yeah, I went there.
It was a stunning defeat for the Remain campaign yesterday. We saw the markets tumble today and David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister. While the world sits by wondering how this will all play out, I can’t help but wonder what will become of the Cameron government’s attempt to weaken encryption and get the citizens to “voluntarily” make use of a country wide proxy system. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will turn into a submarine and resurface later down the line as a horrible surprise.
In 2013 the UK government attempted to roll out a country wide proxy under the thin veneer of “protect the children” from pornography. This was a laughable attempt to goad folks into leveraging a proxy system as opposed to forcing them into it which would have backfired.
So what of the Cameron pledge to ban online messaging apps that use encryption such as WhatsApp?
He said: “In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which […] we cannot read?” He made the connection between encrypted communications tools and letters and phone conversations, both of which can be read by security services in extreme situations and with a warrant from the home secretary.
But companies such as WhatsApp have remained committed to keeping their services encrypted and unable to be read by authorities, a project which has stepped up in the wake of the Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA surveillance.
I quipped at the time that the UK seemed hell bent on returning to an agrarian society. What company would want to continue to do business in the UK if they could not guarantee the safety and security of their data, transactions and customer information? At least for today that seems to be the least of the issues.
The next question is how will this play out for the British citizens data protection? The agreements in place for US-EU data sharing are no longer applicable to the UK residents in the event that this is ratified in Parliament. I have little doubt that intelligence agencies will move quickly to capitalize on this new development. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was meant as a measure to protect individuals in the EU with respects to data sharing with the US. Now that protection, which was adopted in April of this year, will no longer in place for the UK.
Then we have the vultures. Not only do we have all manner of privacy implications in the wake of the Brexit vote there are the circling fowl like Spain who began with overtures to take control of Gibraltar.
The last thing that sticks in my craw is, who made money as a result? 'Follow the money' has been a phrase that I’ve heard time and again. This time is really plays havoc with my fragile little mind. As I watch the markets tank I wonder who was shorting and making a small fortune as a result.
All in all this has been a serious table flip moment for data security, as well as for the UK and EU overall. I’m just concerned that we will see the data of UK citizens become an all you can eat buffet. All this while everyone stands by with marshmallows on sticks as they crowd around the dumpster fire.