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 …


    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

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

      The ones that came closest to blowing me up on a couple of occasions were home grown terrorists - but they were white and christian and so don't count.

  1. phil dude

    The sweeney...?

    Hmm, it gets showed on one of the many channels in the UK. 70's police show about a Special "flying" squad in London.

    Not once do I remember them not catching a criminal because of encryption.

    For that matter, neither did Morse....


    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The sweeney...?

      They both had Jags.

      Now the police have Astra diesels


      1. Vic

        Re: The sweeney...?

        They both had Jags.


        They had a Granada...


  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Pretty soon passwords will no longer be a problem

    We can all share the same, Government appointed, one: WarisPeace1984

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    SMARTR IntelAIgent Source Matters in Future Operating Systems and Virtual Reality AIMachinery

    Once Spooky Intelligence Services realise the Global System and all those Goldman Sachs style administrations, and which all purchase and reward politically incorrect and inept direction for complicit ignorant media presentation as a continuation of an earlier new daily planned reality to be unquestioningly followed, are totally reliant on Smarter Intelligence Supply and catastrophically vulnerable to its ready exclusive supply to alternative thin clients and more powerful remote command and virtual control customers, will they then be expected to better than just dumb silent puppets for muppets to use and fundamentally abuse and radically misuse ........ which whenever that happens is a sure sign of a lack of top tier management intelligence in Secretive Intelligence Services.

    J'accuse GCHQ/SIS/MI5/NSA/CIA/FBI etc. etc. etc. If the cap fits, numpties, wear it.

    And what does it tell y'all about the Sunday Telegraph whenever it prints such incendiary views from a has been government lackey from a disgraced former sysadmin?

    1. David Pollard

      And what does it tell y'all ?

      That the article is actually a cunningly disguised piece of Tory PR in anticipation the forthcoming election, designed to pre-emptively spike any attempts by ReNew Labour to bang the Law and Order drum and thereby grab a bundle of votes ?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    regular legislative overhauls to RIPA... needed

    be afraid. be very afraid. the regular legislative overhaul terrorists are coming.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if he feels the same about envelopes and the post office.

    An envelope prevents the contents from being read after all.

    Presumably, everybody should send all post without one.

    That would include bank statements, personal finance, private information -- exactly the same things that are only slowly becoming protected on the internet.

    Email is still today the equivalent of a post-card not a letter, and will remain so until end-to-end encryption is in-place.

    Would *you* have *your* bank send *your* statement on a post-card Mr Blunkett?

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Braille is encryption

      Perhaps he would like to start there?

  6. Incredulous

    Presumably then...

    The banks that encrypt their communications and keep certain data on hard drives encrypted (such as password hashes) are aiding and abetting... money laundering, benefit fraud and... so on.

    Would our Mr Blunkett suggest that all banking transactions should take place in-clear?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting to note he voted for the Iraq war. Cynics would say that wasn't the right way to go about keeping the world safe from terrorists, what with Iraq now half under control of terrorists and all.

  8. JimmyPage Silver badge

    In the UK

    827 people have died during or following police contact since 2004. Families have struggled hard for justice, encountering multiple failures and police collusion from the IPCC. Why is police accountability failing in this most serious of issues?


    and less than 100 in terrorist attacks.

    I know who I'm more afraid of.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rod for their own back

    OK follow this reasoning and tell me the flaws.

    1) Tech comapnies need tech materials and energy to operate

    2) The materials and energy have to be fought for, by nation states, against rival states

    3) This provokes a terrorist backlash

    4) This provokes anti terrorism legislation

    5) The tech companies moan about this and pretend it's nothing to do with them

  10. Ken 16 Silver badge

    Tech giants who encrypt comms are wittingly aiding their entire user customer base*,

    * a tiny proportion of whom may later commit acts of terrorism

    There, fixed it.

  11. David Roberts Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Full marks for misdirection

    The message is that the tech companies {Google and the like} are championing the protection of data against the government snooping.

    Bad techies.

    Hey, the tech companies must be on our side and are protecting our data against the bad people.

    Our data is/are safe!

    Alternative theory - we are so pissed off with the tech companies that we are starting to encrypt our own data before transmission/storage.

    So the tech companies can't read it.

    So they can't use it for commercial gain.

    So they can't aggregate it to make life easier for the security services.

    So the security services say let's do this "enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing and stop them using personal data encryption.


    Or not paranoid enough?

  12. Velv Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Perhaps since nobody other than terrorists has anything to hide the government should remove all encryption from all government traffic - keep it free and open for us honest good citizens to read since it won't contain anything that is at all controversial, commercial or personal.

    No? Thought not. Muppet!

  13. Allonymous Coward

    I'm stunned

    I just agreed with something MLF said.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why the bloody hell does he bother wasting his breath. He was a waste of space in power, and his stock certainly hasn't risen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plonker

      However, the value of his huge stock of houses has risen. Was it 14 at the last count? Blunkett is one of the reasons why people under 30 can't afford houses. Power was kind to Blunkett.

  15. pyite

    Fixing global warming will aid the terrorists too

    And goddamn it, terrorists drink tap water too so we had better put a stop to clean drinking water.

  16. Graham Cobb

    Get rid of cars

    Now is not the time for lofty disengagement or disinterest. Car manufacturers who provide self-driven – and therefore secret – transport are, albeit unwittingly, helping terrorists to co-ordinate genocide and foster fear and instability around the world.

  17. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Two items in this article I would like to comment on...

    "The politico, who is expected to stand down from Parliament at next year's General Election"

    So hopefully this will be one of the last ill-informed rants he inflicts on the public.

    "[W]e should not capitulate to the big communications giants: they cannot be allowed to get away with the absurd idea that they hold no responsibility for what is transmitted on the platforms they provide.

    These companies may be transnational and are therefore not subject to the laws or requirements of any individual country. But those who run them have a moral responsibility"

    BUT THEY DON'T HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT IS TRANSMITTED ON THE PLATFORMS THEY PROVIDE!!!! They are friggin' telephone manufacturers or internet services, not our mothers! They don't have the organizational resources nor should they spend the time to track down whether I message or telephone people about my obsession over all things Hello Kitty, the Kickstarter potato salad recipe or how Adolf Hitler could have been a great man, but he was afraid to shed enough blood to truly realize the vision of an Aryan world order.

    Next you will be arguing that tin can and string manufacturers have a moral responsibility because two kids use tin cans and a string to chat about how they should beat up the new kid who just moved in down the street. Or that knife manufacturers have a moral responsibility because inevitably someone is going to grab a kitchen knife and slash their spouse over some slight. These companies make tools, which are overwhelmingly used for good, but yes, sometimes they will be used for evil.

    Freedom does not mean freedom from risk. It does mean that people have a right to be secure in their communications, thoughts and belongings. Exceptions to that should occur in instances where enough probable cause exists to issue a specific warrant for an individual or a tightly specified group of individuals who are possibly involved in some kind of criminality or intelligence gathering. Essentially demanding secret access to EVERYONE'S data and communications is simply a fishing expedition at odds with the idea of a free society.

    And yes, terrible things will occur as a result of this freedom. Occasionally, new kids in town will get beat up and spouses will get knifed. However, to date these misfortunes have not been stopped by our intelligence community anyway. Plus, having a free society increases the interaction and commity of the society as a whole, which actually does prevent some of these problems from occurring in the first place.

  18. JaitcH

    But those who run them have a moral responsibility ...

    The old reprobate, father of children born if unions outside marriage, is the LAST PERSON I would take guidance from in the matter of morals.

    If using security procedures make the likes of Blunkett, and his cohorts, call me a `terrorist`then I am proud to be called so, as NO government has rights to access my communications, or my thoughts.

    When travelling through certain airports I always leave extra time to have a chat with the dead-heads that represent Blunkett`s thought process. They ask question`s such as `Why is your laptop devoid of data` (I always like the correct English they use), `Why are you carrying a smartphone without a SIM or data` (to save weight). My favourite was, when using a UK passport, to be denied entry to Canada - and I am a Canadian citizen!

    These result from the Blunkett`s of this world - totally disconnected brain functions.

    I have used PGP since a weekend many moon cycles ago when it was released on bulletin boards in California. Great stuff and Phil Zimmerman deserves all the accolades he has received since writing such an effective piece of code that has frustrated GCHQ and NSA for so many years.

    I guess, to GCHQ and NSA `thought`processes, that makes Phil Zimmerman a MASTER TERRORIST.

    Even the Government of VietNam, an alleged `Communist`nation but actually socialist, permits the use of encryption. Of course, it does nothing like the Five Eyes do by way of surveillance or mistreats it`s former employees as they did Peter Tomlinson.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blunkett was the worst home secretary in modern times

    1. Vic

      Blunkett was the worst home secretary in modern times

      Worse than Wacky Jacqui?


  20. --. --- -..

    Gratuitous Vinay Gupta link


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