back to article 'Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists', claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett

Former, draconian Home Secretary David Blunkett – who held the post at the time of the 9/11 attacks in the US – has claimed that technology companies that encrypt communications on their networks are helping terrorists to spread fear. The Labour MP, writing in Saturday's Daily Telegraph, lambasted Martha Lane-Fox for telling …

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Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

Well that's what the likes of Blunkett wants

Thankfully he is no longer Home Secretary.

He's a nice enough person but some of his ideas are really wacky.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

"He's a nice enough person but some of his ideas are really wacky."

Is he? The impression I gained from the court case over the baby was most unfavourable.

He fathered a child with someone else's partner - presumably carelessness. Then caused the implicit identity of the child to be splashed over the newspapers because he wanted significant ownership of the child's life.

Could he not have set up a trust fund - and watched the child's progress from a distance? That would have seemed the ethical way to behave. You atone for mistakes like that by not making things worse. I feel sorry for that kid having to handle a public revelation like that.

Can anyone remember why one of Blunkett's other sons apparently changed his surname while his father was in office?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

Too right, for this twat to be spouting off about morals and other people's lack of them makes me quite angry. If this arsehole wasn't blind already you'd want to poke his fucking eyes out, or better yet - cut off his tongue.

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Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

He fathered a child with someone else's partner - presumably carelessness.

On whose part? He's hardly catch of the fucking day is he? I think if your partner gets pregnant by Blunkett it's high time they were an ex.

Could he not have set up a trust fund - and watched the child's progress from a distance?

He's far too short-sighted for that. Ba-dum. I'll get me coat.

Can anyone remember why one of Blunkett's other sons apparently changed his surname while his father was in office?

Errrm, his dad is a totalitarian c*nt and he wants nothing to do with him?

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Vic
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Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

He's a nice enough person

[Citation needed]

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

"Errrm, his dad is a totalitarian c*nt and he wants nothing to do with him?"

That was the implicit spin of the newspapers at the time - but IIRC there was a denial by the son that that was the reason. Possibly he had too much aggravation from the public and in his career because of his father?

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Mushroom

Re: Use a VPN? Use SSL/TLS? Well, you are a terrorist

I remember when I changed my surname, it was squarely aimed to hit my father where it hurt the most - his pride.

15 years on and the only contact from him since was to wish me dead on my 40th birthday, so I reckon I hit the target bang on :)

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Anonymous Coward

The Glenn Hoddle Experience

If Mr Blunket did something so bad in a previous life that meant he had to live this one in darkness, then he has my sympathies for what's going to happen to him in the next one.

Too much blood on your Braile reader David.

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Anonymous Coward

Badge of Honor

I feel an enormous amount of pride when the Security Services consider me more of a threat to the National Security of dear old Blighty than a Terrorist.

Puts a spring in my step to know that they're feared to death of me.....a citizen.....tra la, la, la, la.

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Re: Badge of Honor

"of me.....a citizen...."

I think you'll find that's "of me... a subject..." but that's another discussion.

Meanwhile, take a merit point, er, uptick.

p.s. actually, he's right: with and average of five terrorist-caused deaths in the last ten years or so, and about three thousand road traffic deaths per year, *you* are sixty times more likely to kill him than a terrorist is... One thing that would truly disable a politician is a proper sense of scale.

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Re: Badge of Honor

I think you'll find that's "of me... a subject..." but that's another discussion.

You should read your passport, where it clearly says "citizen". British passports haven't said "subject" in decades, and even then the only ones that did were for citizens born overseas, without right of abode.

Agreed on the terrorist stats, though. Even during the most recent "troubles" in NI the average death rate from troubles-related causes still worked out at about the same as that from traffic accidents, ~100/year.

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Re: Badge of Honor

Aye, well, I stopped reading passports when they no longer had the line 'Profession: gentleman'.

Though to be fair, the inside cover was always impressive.

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Boffin

@Neil Barnes

" One thing that would truly disable a politician is a proper sense of scale..."

Too many words.

"One thing that would truly disable a politician is sense."

There. Fixed it for you.

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Vic
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Re: Badge of Honor

British passports haven't said "subject" in decades, and even then the only ones that did were for citizens born overseas, without right of abode.

Errr - are you sure about that?

I'm pretty sure I used to have a passport that declared me a "subject", and I most certainly do have right of abode...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Badge of Honor

I suspect that, like mine, it was a dark blue one and predated the membership of the EU. I remember when passports were blue and driving licenses were red.

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Re: Badge of Honor

I'm pretty sure I used to have a passport that declared me a "subject", and I most certainly do have right of abode..

If the passport was issued pre-1949 that could be the case, but things are different for any passport issued in the past 65 years, see https://www.gov.uk/types-of-british-nationality/british-subject

Few people today are in that category, and there's no reason that you'd want to be.

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WTF?

I fear the Terrists...

A whole lot less than I fear gov.uk, the Servants who want to be Masters.

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Thumb Up

Re: I fear the Terrists...

Yes, and i shall remember you Brent as the Man who took the AWE (OR) out of the Terrorists.

Well done sir, and take that ISIS!

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Re: I fear the Terrists...

foster fear and instability around the world...

Yes you do Blunkett. Please piss off.

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Anonymous Coward

Now there's a first...

From MLF: the new GCHQ spymaster, Robert Hannigan, had been "reactionary and slightly inflammatory."

She finally said something I agree with. However, still nothing from Blunkett that makes sense - I'd be more likely to agree with his guide dog than anything he'll say.

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Re: Now there's a first...

I'd only agree with his guide dog if he decided to take Dave on a trip across a motorway like Frogger.

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Re: Now there's a first...

His guide dog is the brains of the outfit ...

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I wish to rechristen the right honourable Blunkett

As the Right Hon. Fudblanket.

I hope this is not in any way offensive, criminal or terroristic. This was not my intention.

It's my neighbour's fault anyway.

I'm not my brother's keeper.

Yours

A. Cowshed

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Blunkett didn't say:

[W]e should not capitulate to the big governments: they cannot be allowed to get away with the absurd idea that they hold no responsibility for what is done by the intelligence agencies they provide.

These governments may be powerful and are therefore seem not to be subject to the laws or requirements of their country. But those who run them have a moral responsibility: they must stop pretending that they are citizens of a parallel universe.

They exist in and depend on the voters around them just as much as everyone else.

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FAIL

IF ONLY I WAS AS BRAVE IN REAL LIFE...

...as i am sat here typing away in a comments section.....i'd be a fucking superstar.

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Dog House Rules

I always thought his dog wrote all his speeches.

I was very impressed by the dog.

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Re: Dog House Rules

Indeed there are a lot of impressive Canines out there, Harry Redknapps for one. Did you know that his Bulldog (Rosie) runs all his financials? Even opened an account for him at a Bank in Monaco! His other Bulldog (Buster) is a partner in a group of solictors in the City of London.

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Genocide?

"helping terrorists to co-ordinate genocide"

He's gone completely barking mad. No terrorist anywhere has even begun to approach anything that could be called 'Genocide'.

He himself is a far bigger threat to this country than any terrorist has ever been.

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Re: Genocide?

Actually what ISIL is doing to the Kurds in general and the Yazidis in particular is genocide

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Genocide?

The entitlement-stuffed rich Sunni Wahabi Saudi Osama Bin Laden, whose dad was a mate of GWB III, did a good job of persuading the US to kill lots of Iraqis, many of whom were Shi'ites. So you could say he "co-ordinated" the Iraq war, even if he did not organise it or start it.

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Re: Genocide?

But ISIL is now the IS and a state organization.

We don't call it terrorism when state organizations do things because otherwise we'd be calling ourselves terrorists. (Not that we've attempted genocide, but we do do bombings, assassinations, sabotage, etc., things we call terrorism when non-states do them).

I definitely agree IS is committing genocide, but as with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, they're no longer "terrorists", rather they're a state engaged in "using shock and awe to achieve genocide."

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just wow...

Well, it looks like the NSA has an opening in their legal department...

What a tool

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Anonymous Coward

This guy is a total jerk. To see this, how much terrorism has been stopped vs how many nude pictures the NSA has. By the government's want to see into everyone's private lives tells me that they don't trust their own citizens. My dad told me never to trust a government that doesn't trust you.

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"they don't trust their own citizens"

We're not they're citizens. They're our government.

It's just that they (and often, we) don't seem to realise this rather fundamental point.

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But when natural-born citizens target and bomb national infrastructure (Oklahoma City, 1995), it begs a bigger question, "WHO can you trust?" And if the answer is "No one," what's the point of civilization then?

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Re: "they don't trust their own citizens"

<ach> *their* citizens, damnit! Too many abbreviated 'are's.

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Unhappy

Bar Stewards

There are still a few people alive who fought in WW2. I wonder what they think about all this septic spouting.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bar Stewards

My father did; and he thinks it's completely ludicrous. Mind you, after his experiences on D-day and the succeeding period, especially events in the Far East, he blames the US for most of the world's foul ups.

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Re: Bar Stewards

I know. Everything obtained through the valiant deaths of our soldiers. The deaths of 50 million of our guys, their guys, and innocents.

And we've decided to toss our victory away and become a police state anyways. Hitler, Stalin and Mao must be smiling.

It wrenches my guts to think about it.

Remembrance Day is Tuesday. We can remember what the American leaders and our puppets have tossed away.

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Anonymous Coward

SPOTTED THE DELIBERATE MISTAKE

no, nO NO!!, its not 9/11 its 11/9. You're not in America now El Reg!

911, hmm nine one one, nine eleven...hmm for ten points lets see who you think came up with that particular date so that it would be forever burned into the minds of the American Public.

VOTE UP for the good o'l boys at Langley.

VOTE DOWN for a bunch of Master Criminals from Saudi.

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Unhappy

Re: SPOTTED THE DELIBERATE MISTAKE

9/11 or 11/9- let us not forget the terrible day.

Manchester dogs home was torched.

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So are private companies selling guns, ammunition, tanks, missles and training. But these are sanctioned by governments.

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Re: Blunket.

I believe the term we are all looking for here is "enemy of the free world".

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COMFORT BLANKET

But no Comfort Blunket :(

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Quote: Tech companies who provide encrypted – and therefore secret – communications online <...> foster fear and instability around the world.

What I heard after: And we can't have that, because only government is allowed to do this!

Here is a clue. Maybe everyone is starting to get affraid someone's listening in, not just those you call bad guys. Cause, you know ... bypassing due process and law and all.

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"Baroness Lane Fox and others in her industry should wake up to reality"

On the contrary, David Blunkett and others in *his* industry should wake up to reality. You spy agencies went well past any expectations of reasonable behavior. I don't know if some portion of the public previously *trusted* secret spy agencies or not -- that may not be the right word -- but some of the public did at least believe that if they didn't do anything wrong, they would not be spied on. Well, that ship has sailed, the public no longer trusts you and they probably never will. If you had done your job properly you would not have had good people like Snowden feel the need to whistle blow on you, and you would not have the public clamoring for this the way they are now (examples of doing your job properly: make at least SOME effort to follow the law, use limited data collection (not just making up a definition of "collect" so you can lie to the public), quit treating warrants as some inconvenience to work around).

The public demands strong crypto, and the stakes are too high for vendors to not provide it. I'm talking about where it really counts for vendors, raw economics; it's a variant of the prisoner's dilemma. If vendor "A" decided to fall for this line of BS and produce a crypto-free, insecure device, the chances are very high that vendors "B", "C", and "D" would provide good crypto, and "A"'s market share would absolutely evaporate as cutomers went with "B", "C", and "D".

And do realize, you will not rope companies into putting in some crippled cryptosystem or slip in compromised code; it's been tried. There's enough talented programmers to catch compromised code. There's not a huge number of cryptographic experts out in the public, but enough to have consistently found the weaknesses and backdoors in weakened or backdoored cryptosystems put out there (examples -- Clipper, which "they" thought would be good for decades, but was defeated to the point of uselessness before any physical products actually shipped; and Dual_EC_DRBG, a compromised optional AES cryptosystem where some "random" components were found to be questionable within a month, and fatal flaws found within a year.)

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Unfortunately a lot of the findings rely on access to source or access to black box. The issue these days likely comes from the rise of cloud nonsense whereby you do not have access to both the encrypted and unencrypted blocks or necessarily the code that produced it in which case you cannot run the numbers. Cloud is therefore something I would avoid at all costs - you need to encrypt your data at source using something you control. The convenience of cloud at first seems like you do not need to run your own data centre but the real convenience is all that juicy data in one spot.

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I often wonder if it as the CIA or the NSA that sponsored all the cloud propaganda. I'm sure it was one or the other.

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Big Brother

"We should not capitulate to...

"...the fear-mongering politicos: they cannot be allowed to get away with the absurd idea that they hold no responsibility for the behaviour of the security services who treat everyone as a potential terrorist suspect and then use this as an excuse to pass even more repressive laws which restrict our freedoms, rights and liberties!"

FTFY.

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The greatest threats to us are home grown terrorists who thrive on feeding us terror.

The greatest threat to us is home grown terrorists who thrive on creating and feeding us terror.

And among those home grown terrorists, the ones who posed the greatest threats to our way of life and freedoms are those in government, in opposition, and in government and military service.

Civilian and freelance terrorists? Foreign powers? They're comparatively minor threats to us.

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