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UK government wants to dumb down crypto

Jan 13, 20153 mins

There are mornings where it just doesn’t pay to crawl out of bed. Today was one of those days. I woke up with a head cold and then managed to slam my big toe into side table in my hotel room. After I was done cursing a blue streak I settled down with my in room coffee. Why do they always taste so bad? I fired up my laptop and was greeted with the some infuriating news. The British prime minister made it known that he would make it his goal, as an election promise, to not allow encrypted communications that could not be cracked intercepted by the British intelligence services.

From Gigaom:

On Sunday, Cameron told ITV News: “I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability, in extremis, with a warrant signed by the home secretary, to be exempt from being listened to. That is my very clear view and if I am prime minister after the next election I will make sure we legislate accordingly.”

I find this to be an exceptionally disturbing development. Yet again we see governments trying to capitalize on a tragedy to further extend their reach into the Internet. This is troubling. The part that I find even more frustrating is that all of this tub thumping for more access seems to be little more than a misdirection to distract the wider audience from the abject failure to stop the attacks. They had at least two of the suspects under surveillance but, broke off six months earlier.

From the Guardian:

The Kouachi brothers were part of what is known as the Buttes-Chaumont network and were being watched, on and off, as far back as 2005. In terms of monitoring, much the same is true of the killers of Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale; the Boston bomber, Tamerlan Tsnarnaev; and the killer in the attack in Sydney late last year, Man Haron Monis. The authorities had all the powers they needed to monitor the activities of these men, both physically and electronically.

So why is there this push for basically broken crypto in the UK? Mostly because the politicians think that they can. This idea that greater surveillance is needed is complete nonsense and if really can’t stand. I have seen the same sort of nonsensical logic flow in Canada where the government pushed through through Bill C-13, otherwise known as the “Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act”, for greater surveillance powers that duplicate powers they already have under other laws.

We’re wandering into dark days ahead.

(Image used under CC from Y0$HlMl)


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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