Cameron to press Obama for help outlawing encryption, destroying internet freedom

UK Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters)

UK Prime Minister David Cameron (Reuters)

UK PM David Cameron is reportedly seeking the cooperation of US president Barack Obama over Cameron's encryption crackdown. Cameron is expected to ask Obama to pressure US internet firms to work more closely with UK intelligence agencies.

Cameron will demand that US internet companies store – and then be prepared to hand over – data and content needed by the intelligence agencies “to keep us safe” when he meets the president for talks in the Oval Office on Friday morning.

A government source said: “The prime minister’s objective here is to get the US companies to cooperate with us more, to make sure that our intelligence agencies get the information they need to keep us safe. That will be his approach in the discussion with President Obama – how can we work together to get them to cooperate more, what is the best approach to encourage them to do more.”

Obama, who recently accused North Korea of orchestrating the cyber attack on the film studio Sony Pictures, is due to address data security in his penultimate state of the union address next week.

What could go wrong? Cory Doctorow's essay is required reading.

Notable Replies

  1. There's a reason why he is so often called "Camoron".

    I am not afraid of terrorists, they cause at best point damage. I am afraid of stupid people with power to make rules, because widescale area damage.

    On the other hand, civil disobedience will mitigate a lot of the fallout, at least encryption-wise.

    Maybe people will even learn to not buy equipment they won't really own and where the vendor usurps the control over what they are allowed to run on it.

  2. Well, some of Obama's advisers seem to be pretty smart, and he sometimes listens to them, so I feel all is not lost. He seems to be coming down on the right side of net neutrality, kinda-sorta. He does let the NSA run amok, but he hasn't yet outlawed ROT-13.

  3. Short of something delightful but unlikely, like Obama doing an overdramatic spit-take and then throwing his cup of coffee in Cameron's face when the idea is presented; the one potential upside to Cameron's "Retain and report" theory of surveillance is that it makes services that, architecturally, avoid ever being able to usefully betray their customers much more attractive. Careful separation of encrypted data storage and storage of the decryption keys, clients and devices that establish encrypted communications with one another, rather than with the operator's server as an MiTM, etc.

    So long as the service provider has a giant pile of juicy data, we'll see both covert attacks(like the NSA's) and overt attacks(like Cameron's, or the assorted EU 'data retention' proposals). While, in an ideal world, neither would occur, overt attackers beat covert attackers any day, since their intentions, and sometimes even their methods, are in the open.

  4. Too bad. This has ALREADY HAPPENED. It is called "Apple."

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