The US government has given up on demanding backdoors in cryptography for now (advocates have announced that they'll wait until a terrorist attack and then use that as the excuse for fresh demands), leaving the UK government as the last man standing in the race to compromise the security of the technologies with the power of life and death over us.
This is an awkward place to be. MI5 has started pushing messages about the new breeds of antibiotic-resistant superterrorists who will kill us all with their laser-breath if we don't all roll over and do what the spies tell us to.
Without the co-operation of the tech firms what the UK government can do when facing widespread encryption is limited. In June the Home Office confirmed that, for extreme cases, it was considering inserting “black box” probes into the transatlantic cables, to collect data leaving and entering the UK. But if the communications were encrypted on their way to the US, such collection would have little value.
Nicholas Lansman, secretary general of the Internet Service Providers’ Association, the industry body for UK providers, has said that the laws on communications interception are too complex, but that any change should leave “appropriate safeguards” in place.
“ISPA believes that law enforcement should have reasonable access to communications data as long as the governing legislation has appropriate safeguards, and oversight arrangements, and does not damage inward investment and the UK’s position as a leading place to do business online,” Lansman said.
UK war on encryption will struggle without the US onside
[Alex Hern/The Guardian]
(Image: David Cameron with Soldiers in Afghanistan)
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