back to article Apple, Google mobe encryption good news... for TERRORISTS – EU top cop

People don’t know the difference between privacy and anonymity, says EU top cop Troels Oerting: they want the former, but the latter will make life too easy for criminals. The Europol Assistant Director and head of European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) was joining a chorus of lawmakers and law enforcers reacting to news that Apple …

Irreversible encryption

I can't imagine a more useless type of encryption.

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Re: Irreversible encryption

It does kind of seem like the people popping up to criticise this don't actually know anything about the subject and are just mimicking others (badly) to get some face time on tv

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irreversible encryption

I think that irreversable encryption should be used everwhere*.

* How long would it take before NSA/GCHQ/etc stop trying to decode it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irreversible encryption

DELETE button (and re-write 7 times :)

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Re: Irreversible encryption

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

Just tried that and this is the result.

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Re: Irreversible encryption

The poor and wretched bureaucrat probably meant "encryption with forward secrecy" instead of "irreversible"...

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Silver badge
Pint

Code Space

If the huge encryption key is protected behind a 4-digit PIN, would this concept still work if the concept was extended by one step so that the PIN was in turn conveniently protected behind a "Press Any Key To Display PIN" dialog?

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Re: Irreversible encryption

* How long would it take before NSA/GCHQ/etc stop trying to decode it?

>Implying that they can't do it anyway. Further >Implying that Apple, Google et-al, hasn't already given the Alphabet Soup crowd some form of a Master Password anyway. Again >Implying that they can't sell their Warez until they do...

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Re: Irreversible encryption

It's right up there with write only memory.

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Boffin

Re: Irreversible encryption

I can't imagine a more useless type of encryption.I can't imagine a more useless type of encryption.

Interestingly, it is useful, but not in the context used by the speaker. Irreversible encryption is useful for password hashes, as it makes it easier to do quick hash encryption that can be only verified by encrypting the same hash and checking if the encrypted bytes match the ones you stored earlier.

But yeah, the "irreversible encryption" they're talking about isn't irreversible at all.

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Lawmakers, cops, bankers, terrorists - all one and the same snake's nest.

Given that governments are still just the largest, most powerful organized crime syndicates in any given area, its easy to see from where the wind blows here.

Why don't you spooks and the f**kers behind you just declare martial law and model all our countries after Burma or Paraguay?

Security is an illusion.no matter what you people get to spy on or not. But what can anybody do with negative selection for positions of power built into the system and psychotics running the show?

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Childcatcher

Won't somebody think of the lawmakers? All the time and effort setting up huge dragnets and data collection systems will be wasted when they need to gather evidence, get a warrant and actually arrest an individual every time they want to access a device to see if they're a baddy. For shame!

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Silver badge

There is an inconsistency in what is said. We need lots and lots of meta-data but not the content of comms, but please don't make our life difficult by using encryption.

Think of the children - some just need to think full stop

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g e

Not to mention the small fact that

Criminals and terrorists will actually already be using encryption.

DUH.

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Silver badge
Holmes

re:Won't somebody think of the lawmakers?

Don't forget the law enforcers too!

How terrible that their anonymous internet(-tap) usage won't work with encryption and they'll actually have to ask for data and be accountable.

Still, nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh?

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Silver badge

If the law enforcers did their job and ensured that mobile device theft was reduced by 100% and they stuck to only looking at phones with a valid search warrant, then there would be no need for encryption on mobile devices.

Until they can effectively combat crime and until agencies work within the law, they only have themselves to blame.

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FAIL

It ought to be banned!

Just to give Troels Oerting a helping hand, here are a few more things that terrorists and paedophiles might occasionally use, and should, therefore, be banned:

* Cars and petrol

* Refrigerators

* Police uniforms

and, last but not least,

* Common sense

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Re: It ought to be banned!

You missed a few things:

* Writing in abbreviations or code on pieces of paper

* Hiding things and not telling the police where they are

* Making plans as a group face to face in locations where there is no-one to listen

* Making plans in your head and not telling the police

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Silver badge

Re: It ought to be banned!

I'm equally incensed by governments providing criminals with untraceable, anonymised pieces of paper allowing inter-criminal transactions to proceed.

Worked it out yet..

Yup Cash

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Re: It ought to be banned!

That is because the Government doesn't need Cash, kmac.

If nerds ruled the Universe they would ban sex and personal hygiene. Be thankful.

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hits the nail on the head, did he not realise

Troels Oerting actually identified the problem this move is for so clearly - "In any democratic society we need to provide law enforcement with a right to obtain information authorised by a judge, based on a clear suspicion, in cases involving serious crime or terrorism"

the part about about being authorised by a judge, and being based on a clear suspicion. These veils of 'national security' have abolished that, this is the reaction.

as long as laws exist that allow for sweeping - unmonitored or monitored in secret - spying on people, these technologies should exist, and be widely used.

terrorism is so overblown its fucking pathetic it gets air time let alone the ability to mold policy. call it what it is, cowards attacking your way of life and stand tall, rather than huddling in fear like they want you to. don't see why its so hard to do.

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Silver badge

Knowing the difference

"People don’t know the difference between privacy and anonymity, says EU top cop"

Perhaps we wouldn't be in this situation if law enforcement agencies had learned the difference between

legal and ethical behaviour

proportionate and disproportionate reactions

targetted and blanket surveillance

scrutiny and accountability

innocence and guilt

right and wrong

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Black Helicopters

Re: Knowing the difference

Agreed. And ditto but even more so for politicians.

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Thumb Up

Re: Knowing the difference

I came to comment on a similar note.

"We all want and need privacy, but this doesn't mean anonymity."

I mean he's not necessarily wrong. I don't have to have anonymity, but I do want privacy.

Unfortunately it has more or less been shown that the only way to obtain privacy is through anonymity.

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g e

Re: Knowing the difference

And encryption isn't even anonymity, either, it just means only the sender and recipient can access the content (with ease) - it doesn't follow that the metadata of Person A sent Person B an encrypted message was also obfuscated.

SSH != TOR

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Re: Knowing the difference - "SSH != TOR"

Don't you think the NSA owns and runs TOR by now?

- if that wasn't already the case from the start...

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Roo
Silver badge
Windows

“Full encryption of communication and storage online will make life very easy for the criminals and terrorists and very difficult for law enforcement and law abiding citizens."

Making the failure to hand over passwords/keys on request a criminal offence covers that one (lucky us in the UK).

Surprised that he stopped at private comms & data, he will be asking us to leave the keys in the ignition of our unlocked cars on the grounds that it'll make policing car crime a bit easier next.

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Silver badge

"Making the failure to hand over passwords/keys on request a criminal offence covers that one (lucky us in the UK)."

And once Theresa May has abolished that pesky Human Rights Act, they'll be able to torture the keys out of you!

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Anonymous Coward

I really can't believe they will get rid of the human rights act... we were an original signatory to it IIRC, we have a history of pushing for human rights in this country...

Suggesting they will remove human rights is clearly a way to loose the next election, they must see that?

Imagine how hard people will campaign to make people realise the conservatives are turning us into a authoritarian state!

I for one am so glad scotland remained in the Union, without their labour votes, we might have been in for another Tory government at the next election...

I am usually a Tory voter, but their record on human rights over the last government is appalling!

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Silver badge

"Suggesting they will remove human rights is clearly a way to loose the next election, they must see that?"

Alas, no. The government (of any flabour or stripe) has been weaving a narrative, supported by certain elements of the press, that Human Rights only serves to protect criminals who would otherwise have been convicted. It's on this platform that the right (ConKip) has been steadily building public concensus towards getting out of the EU.

Once we leave the EU (which is looking fairly inevitable at the moment) we will lose not just the HR protections we have, but *all* oversight that prevents our government from enacting just about any measure they want.

For some examples of things the EU, ECHR and ECJ have protected us from look back over the last four or five Home Secretaries careers and look at the various plans that have been scuppered by Europe saying "Non!" and "Nein!" at our leaders; Identity Cards, Stop & Search, Centralised DNA database, Camera surveillance in homes (Yes, they did try that one) and many others.

Unfortunately, the stupid part of our nations population has come to believe that to get rid of the TerrorPedos, Brown People Next Door and Spongers(tm), we have to give up this oversight...but it's all ok, because Cameron will write a nice, new British Charter that will protect all the "Proper Brits", won't he?

Please, when the referendum comes up, consider this before voting away our last line of defence.

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Bronze badge

Human Rights are a mirage

In theory Human Rights should protect us, but they are seen as the maximum official rights (privileges) people have, which are often broken unofficially.

What we really need is respected for common law, ethics, morals, and unlimited, cultural, plain common decency, not hypocritical, 'do gooder', creeping socialist, statist rights.

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Mushroom

that depends if they re-instate Common Law & Habeas Corpus that they had to (illegally) abrogate before they could REDUCE our rights with the un-needed by Common Law jurisprudence EHRC & the enabling act.

When originally mooted the EHRC was not deemed to be as strong as UK Common Law rights & therefore it was not only unnecessary to 'enable' the EHRC but would in fact (and did) remove our Common Law rights leaving us all less protected (30 day detention ring any bells ? Illegal under Habeas Corpus).

You did know that Habeas Corpus is no longer part of the law didn't you ? Because Habeas Corpus & assorted other Common Law rights PREVENTED the EHRC from working.

So get the right end of the stick - get rid of the pathetic HRA and restore Common Law rights; so for instance just one example of REDUCED rights :

- No extradition unless

-- it is a crime in the UK

-- there is prima facia evidence that there is a case to answer under UK law

-- No foreign governments/courts would have primacy over the Law Committee of the House of Lords ( now replaced by the very inferior Supreme Court - a court that is NOT supreme because it can be overruled by FOREIGN courts who run a complete different jurisprudence that is NOT compatible with Common Law)

Shove the Human Rights Act; Common Law countries don't need an inferior copy of what we have (because that is what the EHRC is; an inferior copy; weakened because Code Napoleon can not tolerate the State NOT being supreme)

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Human Rights - the media war

I see the UK press is pushing the government agenda today

Daily Express: (I don't read it but saw this on the news stand!)

Human rights madness to end: Europe's judges to be stopped from meddling in our affairs

Human Rights is getting in the way of the draconian legislation UKGov wants to pass but being sold as those pesky Europeans meddling…

The problem is I don't see Labour doing anything different. They wanted to scrap the Human Rights Act in the early 2000's when incarceration without trial was being used on terrorist suspects. We really need a "None of the Above" entry on the next election ballot papers! They are all as bad as each other and seem to be competing to see who can get the police state installed first

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The ECHR describes a minimum set of rights assigned to all. Countries can have (and do have) laws that assign more rights to their citizens. Your claim that ECHR would cancel out broader and more inclusive rights is bullshit. More likely UK politicians used it as an excuse to remove rights.

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Anonymous Coward

The lady doth protest too much methinks.

Or in this case the gentleman from Europol. Ever since Apple & Google announced they were going to do this, Law Enforcement Agencys from the 'FIVE EYES' have been bemoaning how this technology is going to hamper them and put lives at risk...its as though they're reading lines of a pre-prepared script.

It wasn't all that long ago when these agencys led us to believe that you couldn't be identified on the web...we were fooled once.

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Re: The lady doth protest too much methinks.

Wait, when did they ever claim that? There's *always* been a chance of being identified online, even if you take precautions like tor or VPNs. There's never been a time when there was no way for a machine to be identified, just ways to make it difficult enough that people give up looking

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Re: The lady doth protest too much methinks.

SolidSquid:

Even if I spoof my MAC address, walk into a cybercafe or local wifi hotspot and fire up my Tails CD?

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Gold badge

Re: The lady doth protest too much methinks.

Sure, because all I need to find you is this:

1) Logs of signal strengths of various wifi nodes in the region which can be crunched to give me an approximate location for you.

2) You to slip you and get your face on video

Combine with things like "paying by debit car/visa/using bonk-to-pay transit" or other things and I can narrow down "who you are" pretty easily, if I've a mind to.

If I have the cooperation of other international policing agencies to allow me to gather metadata enough to even narrow your initial access point then I, personally, can pwn you with just the resources of my local police force. And I'm not a cyber security expert.

Do not fool yourself: being fully anonymous on the internet is a damn difficult - and increasingly expensive - job. It involves laundering money, using mules to buy burners and disposable credit cards and various other things to accomplish. The last time I ran the numbers, a single session of true internet anonymity would cost you 4 days or prep time, two mules and $7500.

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I would add

"Full encryption of communication and storage online will make life very easy for the criminals and terrorists and very difficult for law enforcement and law abiding citizens."

I would add that it's about time to do away with that outrageous interference with the police and anti-terrorist forces work and finally ban the door locks and window curtains for good! Enough is enough!

For how long should the law abiding citizens suffer the necessity to repair their doors and reinstall those locks after an innocuous dawn raid? For how long should the valiant detectives risk their lives and dignity trying to peek through the curtained windows?

And while we are at that - why should the hard-working staff at the Crown Prosecution Service have to explain themselves about the way they collected their evidence, almost as if it is them who are being tried in the court of law?

And why should the criminals in-all-but-name, sitting in the dock and answering the grave and just charges in front of an honourable judge be allowed to put sand in the wheels of justice by, wait for it - defending themselves?? How dare they???

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Silver badge

This applies to the offline world and should also apply to the online world.

Die Gedanken sind frei, wer kann sie erraten,

sie fliegen vorbei wie nächtliche Schatten.

Kein Mensch kann sie wissen, kein Jäger erschießen

mit Pulver und Blei: Die Gedanken sind frei!

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It would save time if ...

... we just made privacy illegal.

After all, since the revelation that spy cops were the prime movers in not just leading but shagging UK activists over the past couple of decades, there's nowhere much left that they haven't been poking their investigative protuberances.

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Silver badge

Re: It would save time if ...

Well if the UK stupidly votes for a Conservative government next year, who want to get rid of the Human Rights Act, we could very well see privacy advocates classed as terrorists etc etc. Obviously not stemming from the abolishment of the HRA, but because a Government so evil and calculated to even consider the abolisment of such an act probably would think making privacy illegal was such a good thing to do.

"If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about" said William Hauge, the "greatest living Yorkshireman". I'm not from Yorkshire, but even I know that's a load of bullshit.

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Re: It would save time if ...

Charles Stross yesterday pointed out that Churchill was instrumental in the Human Rights Act. Thus do today's worms undo the work of yesterday's mighty dragons (or sumfink)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It would save time if ...

I think the Tories are more concerned about the large number of Scottish independence activists who, wait for it, do not belong to a political party. They'll want to nip that sort of undemocratic behavior in the bud smart-ish, before it catches on elsewhere.

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Silver badge

Re: It would save time if ...

Honestly, I almost wish Scotland HAD voted 'Yes'. Then the Conservatives wouldn't feel so under pressure to adopt the policies of UKIP in a pathetic attempt to claw back some of those votes (a tactic that almost never works as the vote shift is more based on image and flag-waving than rationality). Also, we'd be significantly less likely to get a Labour government anytime soon. I would rather evils of the Tory Party than the reactionary, ideological idiocy of New Labour.

Oh, and on topic? I'd actually agree with this person on an open discussion about where to draw the line between protecting society and individual rights, except for the fact the last decade is a year by year lesson in the fact that the government will use any unethical or illegal means it can get away with to spy on us and needs to be beaten back with a stick repeatedly and forever.

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Megaphone

Re: It would save time if ...

and Churchill also said that the UK did not need to have an HRA - because we had the far supperior Common Law & Bill of Rights (yes we do have a written constitution - oh my; they had to break it illegally to get the stupid HRA into law)

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Re: It would save time if ...

"As we show the existence of the HRA’s rights and freedoms derives from British common law. Their codification was specifically inspired by Winston Churchill and the Act is thoroughly conservative in its content and operation"

https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/sites/default/files/churchill-s-legacy-the-conservative-case-for-the-hra-october-2009.pdf

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Re: It would save time if ...

I think the words you're looking for are these:

"The crows to peck at eagles"

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Funny ...

I don't recall being asked, via a political and ethical discussion on the trade-offs, to help set the balance prior to our gub'ments engaging in the mass surveillance of us citizens. Must not have gotten that memo.

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Anonymous Coward

The right balance between freedom and security

Security: Not getting beaten up in your own home by criminals

Freedom: Not getting beaten up in your own home by bent cops.

Why is this an either-or choice again?

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