back to article Break crypto to monitor jihadis in real time? Don't be ridiculous, say experts

Calls by a former special advisor to ex UK Prime Minister David Cameron to allow the circumvention of end-to-end encryption to monitor terrorist suspects have come under fire from security experts. Rohan Silva, government policy consultant turned co-founder at Shoreditch-based tech incubator/workspace startup Second Home, …

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Re: There will always be a safe place to communicate

"The idea that there is a way to stop secret communications is a nonsense. Playing whack-a-mole with whatever is used now only has one end game"

The concept of not being able to say "enough is enough" and have it work just fine is an impossible concept to grasp for the vicar's daughter.

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What a plonker!

"6,500 radicals or extremists" should be kicked out the country, not monitored!

We should be proactive, not sit back and wait for these things to happen.

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You've got a list of people...

So take the devices off them and ban them from using them.

Oh wait, that's not PC right? because blowing people up is....

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Re: You've got a list of people...

They've done the "taking away devices", but now the list of people dangerous to the government is "everyone, including you".

Although, apparently ringing up MI5 and saying "My neighbour / brother / son is a religious extremist" doesn't get anything done (otherwise it would be a great way to prank your neighbour / brother / son). In fact, nationally broadcasting a reality TV show called "The Jihadi Next Door" about that person doesn't get anything done.

So it looks like the solution has to be to stop "knife crime prevention" of the knife-prevention kind and everybody go out tooled up. Make it an even fight. In fact I know how to kill someone with a credit card. Put them on hold on the premium line to the call centre and play Vivaldi Four Seasons at them for 99 minutes.

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Big Brother

Headline at 6

Idiot Westminster wonk smells pork barrel funding for shaky venture.

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Joke

And Later, Perhaps a Spot of Light Refreshment?

Silva clarified that he was not in favour of "banning encryption" but rather getting the tech industry to "lean in".

"I'll lean, then. Is this far enough?"

"More, please."

"How about now?"

"More."

"Is this enough?"

"Look, just go ahead and bend over, okay?"

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Silva clarified that he was not in favour of "banning encryption"

Which is just as well, because one would hope that before being in favour of banning something one should understand what is is. It's pretty clear from the rest of his statement that he doesn't.

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Stop

Did I miss a law being passed

which mandates terrorists *must* used electronic devices to communicate ?

Just wait until we discover an atrocity planned via snail mail (preferably using a foreign language in a foreign script - e.g. Farsi).

Alternatively, just set up a public streaming webcam pointing at a bit of pavement, and just walk past with the message at a set date and time ....

And there are thousands of other non-encrypted ways to communicate in secret. Starting with learning Welsh ....

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Re: Did I miss a law being passed

Damo! Mae e wedi dysgu ein cyfrinach. Lladdwch e nawr!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Did I miss a law being passed

Surely Welsh is just a form of encryption?

Posting anonymously because it took me about 3 hours to write an unbreakable encryption program based on the one-time pad concept. (I am embarrassed it took me more than one hour).

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Re: Did I miss a law being passed

'sdim ishe ei ladd. Anfona fe i Benffordd Las (Staylittle) a ni fydd yn bosib iddo ddweud wrth unrhywun :-)

M.

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Re: Did I miss a law being passed

Google translate. 2 seconds. :)

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Re: Did I miss a law being passed

Google translate. 2 seconds. :)

Ah yes, but do you trust Google translate? Perhaps it's Welsh code....

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Trollface

Re: Did I miss a law being passed

"Surely Welsh is just a form of encryption?"

I guess you could call it "public key cryptography" and not entirely lie...

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Terminator

Said it before.

It's a standards track problem.

The standards track says stronger crypto more [all] of the time.

The government can bitch about this all it likes but it's the reality of the situation. This shit can't be weakened, it can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with.

That's why I have no problem voting Tory - they can want it all they like; they aint getting it. Even if they hypothetically did (which is an absurdity for all sorts of reasons) - you'd just make those platforms irrelevant. On the internet services are like pop groups, a year or so after they're popular you forget they existed because you're on the new thing.

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Re: Said it before.

"That's why I have no problem voting Tory"

Like voting for Trump then?

Don't mind having deluded morons in charge?

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Anonymous Coward

When you build a better mouse trap you also build a better mouse.

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Unhappy

Sorry for repeating myself but...

1950s SciFi story. Subversives were sending messages under the noses of the oppressors. Messages were 'delivered' by old men walking dogs. The message was the number and the colour of the dogs!

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Re: Sorry for repeating myself but...

If you've agreed the code in advance, nothing can crack it.

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Re: Sorry for repeating myself but...

@Pen-y-gors - Exactly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-time_pad

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Anonymous Coward

Rohan Silva

"Silva argued that end-to-end encryption was only introduced by services such as WhatsApp"

Whatsapp was built from the outset with end to end encryption, it wasn't added later.

Anyhow, Rohan Silva is an idiot, as demonstrated on a frequent basis in the regular opinion piece column he has in The Evening Standard. I often find myself wondering "who the fuck does this guy think he is??" ... and now I know.

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Anonymous Coward

Focussed intrusion.

They just want to monitor suspects.

All of us are suspects.

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Re: Focussed intrusion.

"All of us are suspects."

If you believe the theologians.

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Gimp

"All of us are suspects."

Correct.

That is exactly how they think.

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Re: "All of us are suspects."

Guilty until proven guilty.

Trials are just there to determine the level of guilt.

Geek reference - "The purpose of a trial is to demonstrate the futility of behavior contrary to good order,"

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End to end encryption has been in iMessage from day one

But he's right that it is used for "profit", since Apple does market on the privacy - not just from marketing from even from over-reaching useless government functionaries like the one all butt hurt about it.

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Anonymous Coward

What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

What if Alice and Bob choose their own private scheme for encryption, say without using any public resources at all?

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Say Alice and Bob do the encryption/decryption on machines which are standalone (no network), and use thumb drives to transfer only the privately encrypted messages to network-enabled machines? The plain texts are always air gapped.

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Then their messages going over public channels are twice encrypted.....I don't see how backdoors help the government (or anyone else listening in).

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What am I missing here?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

Bigford ooralis bewinter malachi Dinesen drifted wall-fight snow-swathe dynamicity pomatums ecliptics McDermott yabbi EUUG neo-impressionism incapacitator unsplendidness unsharpen Walls dilemma chokers Carlini reverberated Dianthaceae troctolite polypier manner diabolic chevalier ribaudequin viridene nappies plagueproof EMA heliotherapies Soledad busulfans beduke phosphore low-frequency nonbeauties Ossetian Sugarland linsang serpentize Witbooi espanol telpherage zoogony patroon yeggs clamjamfry verminously crimple underturn woodbark Dev whensoe'er minigroups undeferrable dunamis justifably zacate unrepressive disenfranchised nonrejection rectifies dawing ISV uncarded drabbets esthesiology foliaging Deyoung Holocene endocoelar buffoonish opodymus demonstrant premarrying hypoalbuminemia nicknameable Wyner Lowestoft reticent multisection Bobo proctorrhaphy dashpot functor Oxystomata Pro-bermudian remigrant tinkerers meager Tinsley Dannemora outblot hastated vitrite make overdye saccharotriose planirostal diapasonal Split eight-celled unvariation huddle gravery unmitres phenazine geodetic Warms mulched chokeberry thermoradiotherapy UEC Patricksburg unsilvered orpit microgyne Astrangia nonjudicable Loxias double-queue wowserian anthocarpous specialists stookers Afshah rabbitfish pro-Jacobean hog-plum Caragana americanizing grub-prairie Ann-Marie nonperseverance Pica satanophany reschool underspread aepyornis tear-dimmed stillish hays exterminates concertino Isoptera quinque-articulate bump preaxiad megasporange nighty-night durabilities Pleasanton landowners suprabasidorsal pinewoods plumbery gyromancy self-identical accommodated sentimental theologastric intail Ailsa spacecraft retiral sorcerous marvel-of-Peru representor enterogenous Athenaeum spacewalkers wind-god gemsboks skatoxyl technicalness Aglipayan penetrably Lemitar alcoholisms Tadich superstition noblify phenomenalist cosmographist terne nonspectral prepsychological Sutter valeramid inletting speckle-breasted arkite notre travel-parted Lafollette maddock Claverack microcosmography untarnished stubbornest sadhes modulative protraditional unassuaged demonising

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Terminator

Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

@ac "Bigford ooralis bewinter malachi Dinesen etc."

Undootedly you are John Cole resurrected in our hour of need.

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

" Athenaeum spacewalkers wind-god gemsboks skatoxyl technicalness"

Okay, 3.30 on Friday then. Mine's white with no sugar please.

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

You beat me to it.

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

Grace; who thinks she is going to crack your communication network.

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

You're on May's radar now mate!

Better sleep under the bed from now on.

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

What's outstanding about this is that it makes the same, if not more, sense than AManFromMars's posts...

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

What's outstanding about this is that it makes the same, if not more, sense than AManFromMars's posts...

So true, thinking of which, haven't seen him around here recently. Anyone know what's happened? Has the medication finally started working?

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WTF?

Re: What about privately agreed crypto betw <<< MEOW???

Bigford ooralis bewinter malachi Dinesen drifted wall-fight snow-swathe dynamicity pomatums ecliptics McDermott yabbi EUUG neo-impressionism incapacitator unsplendidness unsharpen Walls dilemma chokers Carlini reverberated Dianthaceae troctolite polypier manner diabolic chevalier ribaudequin viridene nappies plagueproof EMA heliotherapies Soledad busulfans beduke phosphore low-frequency nonbeauties Ossetian Sugarland linsang serpentize Witbooi espanol telpherage zoogony patroon yeggs clamjamfry verminously crimple underturn woodbark Dev ----SNIP---

What is THAT?

Dictionary attack?

Intellectual Lorem Ipsum?

Poetry Made by Vogon Living In Onancock?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dictionary attack?

"What is THAT?

Dictionary attack?

Intellectual Lorem Ipsum?

Poetry Made by Vogon Living In Onancock?"

GrahAManFromArse just before the batteries weent completely flat?

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Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

He's still here: https://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/31681/

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Happy

Re: What about privately agreed crypto between private parties?

Indeed so, and still adding his unique colour to the forum

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The PTB have NO clue

The current aristocrats of the now Edwardian western empire (GB, USA, JP) really have no clue how computers work, or any technology for that matter, let alone the Internet.

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DrM

Not clueless

He's not clueless -- he's disingenuous.

http://chris.cc/graphics/BigBrother.jpg

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Silva is absolutely right. And this argument that "the bad guys will get it" is totally inane, given that the bad guys *already* have the crypto, duh. Lock your stuff up better and it won't be stolen. Isn't that what you nerds always tell the victims of hacks? Well, same to you.

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Inane?

Therefore we should not be allowed access to tools to lock up stuff for ourselves more effectively? Because it is futile?

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The assertion that 'Two of the suspects were known to the authorities and ought have been the targets of control orders and travel restrictions.' is absurd. The number of people known to authorities is just too large for this to be feasible.

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'The assertion that 'Two of the suspects were known to the authorities and ought have been the targets of control orders and travel restrictions.' is absurd. The number of people known to authorities is just too large for this to be feasible.'

Can you explain how monitoring all communications and dealing with the many false positives will reduce the workload of the spooks and the number of people to monitor ?

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"The number of people known to authorities is just too large for this to be feasible."

Yes, BUT.....

When the senior people in an anti-terrorism focussed muslim charity (who have experience and qualifications in such things) ring up and say "XYZ is acting bloody strangely, menacingly and in my opinion is dangerous" then attention should be paid to the quality of the source and weighted accordingly.

Because that's exactly what happened in this instance - and that wasn't the only source.

Ditto cases where multiple reports are being filed, especially from community leaders such as multiple Imans (which happened in Manchester)

It's one thing to "gather intelligence" and quite another to collate such reports and (not) act on them.

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If encryption was known to be useless, the potential "terrorists" (in reality: deluded, low IQ, narcissistic, mentally ill scumbags) wouldn't use it, would they?

So: Own goal. Worse than useless effort.

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If bombs and guns were made useless somehow then the terrorists wouldn't use those either, and maybe would be stuck with writing rude words on walls in public places. So there is a bit of an argument, that depriving the enemy of a tool is a good idea. So let me know if the enemy ever gets better at killing people than, say, everyday road traffic does.

Yeah, the latest London attack didn't use guns or bombs, presumably because the naughty men didn't have them. They were wearing pretend bombs that they may have believed to be real ones. I don't want to tell naughty men their own business, but outrages in Paris show that with guns and bombs and a personal death wish you can kill a lot more people than just with knives.

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My point was that for the intelligence services to get good intel they should compromise the devices of the people under investigation. Not ruin encryption for everyone, thus making it obvious to even the most daft murderous lunatic sociopath nutter that those devices cannot be used at all to communicate securely.

The extra threshold of having to do so also makes it less likely that we will all be monitored causally like in some 1984 scenario. (For which our technical capability is now way beyond what was envisioned in "1984".)

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Thumb Up

Bring back Lottie Dexter!

She knew about the codes! Lottie will save us!

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