back to article UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election

The UK government will push through orders next month to force all communications companies including Google and Facebook to break data encryption. That's according to the Sun newspaper, which quotes a government minister as saying "we will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of …

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      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        The first question I would ask is how they justify that MP's comms data is exempt from ICR collections.

        Two face bastards.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "The first question I would ask is how they justify that MP's comms data is exempt from ICR collections."

          That is justifiable. Not well thought out but justifiable. The justification is that you should be able to discuss matters confidentially with your MP. The not well thought out bit is that it's only actually exempt if your communication is also exempt.

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            "The justification is that you should be able to discuss matters confidentially with your MP"

            That justification could and should be applied elsewhere....almost anywhere in fact...

            If I choose to have a private conversation with someone else, I should be able, (pay attention here, fans of totalitarianism) *short of a court order to the contrary*, to rest assured that my conversation IS private, regardless of the medium I choose.

            Of course, if I choose to broadcast my conversation publically, such as on Facebook, Twitter or yelling it in the street, then my reasonable expectation of privacy is no longer reasonable, and I have no recourse, having made my speech public.

            What the MPs are saying here is that this right to expectation of privacy ONLY applies to communications involving them, either to or from and to NO ONE else. Not your doctor, your friends, your employer, your counsellor, your children's teachers, or a (perhaps worst of all) journalist. Those are all subject to automatic interception, cataloguing and trend analysis.

            And that's just the starter. The Digital Economy Bill goes on to grant the government the power to actually SILENCE those conversations should they choose to do so.

            We can't let them do this.

    1. tfb Silver badge
      Flame

      But they're not proposing removing encryption. They're proposing what is essentially key escrow: the security agencies will have additional keys which they can use to read encrypted communications, if they need to. And as we all know the security agencies are very good at keeping secrets. Random contractors never steal vast troves of information from them, and they never reveal zero-days they are hoarding causing resulting ransomware attacks. We can trust them, implicitly, with this information.

      OK, yes, they are, in fact, proposing removing encryption, because handing your additional keys to a bunch of useless clowns who will leak them in a few months is just exactly that.

  1. ShelLuser

    As if the government had done so much...

    The fact is that the people around the suicide bomber have warned the government multiple times that he was an extremist and could be doing something bad. Source is this Dutch newspaper (Telegraaf) here.

    Translation of the headline: "Authorities have been warned 5 times about Abedi".

    With significant details I might add. That he was an extremist, that he had ties into Al Quada, that he had become a severe radical. Despite all those warnings he had been put on a watch list but wasn't actively monitored.

    So I ask you, is social media and encryption really to blame here? What good is giving the government more access if they already ignore the obvious, as has been shown here?

    Hypocrites, that's all I can say.

    1. pleb

      Re: As if the government had done so much...

      add to all that, he had only just returned from Libya.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: As if the government had done so much...

      Just like the parliament attack thug, known to authorities and ignored.

      So who is really to blame?

      They do have the information but do not use it.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: As if the government had done so much...

        Just like the parliament attack thug, known to authorities and ignored.

        So who is really to blame?

        They do have the information but do not use it.

        Well, the next obvious question is whether they choose to ignore the information, or do not have the resources to handle it?

        Discuss, then vote accordingly...

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: As if the government had done so much...

          "Well, the next obvious question is whether they choose to ignore the information, or do not have the resources to handle it?"

          Well, whilst this annoys the hell out of me too, I have to play devils advocate here for a moment and voice the opposing argument; would you really want a state where someone/anyone can be arrested BEFORE committing a crime?

          Broadens the debate, eh?

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: As if the government had done so much...

            I don't think it does broaden the debate. Weakening privacy also wouldn't allow people to be arrested before commiting a crime.

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: As if the government had done so much...

            would you really want a state where someone/anyone can be arrested BEFORE committing a crime

            UK is such state - see current anti-terror legislation.

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

              Re: As if the government had done so much...

              Conspiracy is a crime in many other countries as well.

              You don't have to actually commit the crime just be intending to do so.

          3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: As if the government had done so much...

            Well, whilst this annoys the hell out of me too, I have to play devils advocate here for a moment and voice the opposing argument; would you really want a state where someone/anyone can be arrested BEFORE committing a crime?

            You misunderstand me; this is not what I am advocating either. My point is that cuts to police, and more importantly, police staff mean that there are fewer people to actually analyse the intelligence. At any time, there can be a large number of people 'known to the police', and they could be doing something that would be grounds for being picked up, if there was someone to sort through the intelligence. For example, they might be seen on CCTV doing something suspicious, or there might be a suspicious pattern of purchases (such as large quantities of the substances that used to make TATP). These data might already be collected, but it's of no use if there's nobody to collate them and then send an officer round to investigate.

            I'm not saying this particular attack could have been stopped this way, but removing the resources to be able to do this certainly won't have made this sort of crime less likely.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: As if the government had done so much...

            would you really want a state where someone/anyone can be arrested BEFORE committing a crime?

            Yes.

            We can list examples of "conspiracy," which involves two or more people planning a crime - such as Conspiracy to Commit Fraud or Conspiracy to Commit Murder (which is more relevant in this case)

          5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Broadens the debate, eh?"

            No it doesn't.

            UK anti-terror laws can absolutely proactively detain someone under house arrest.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: As if the government had done so much...

          "Well, the next obvious question is whether they choose to ignore the information, or do not have the resources to handle it?

          Discuss"

          OK, let's discuss. Maybe they don't have the resources to handle it and undertake mass-surveillance of everyone else as well. I which case, wouldn't it be better to focus on those they're aware of?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So to fight evil oppressive scum we have to become evil oppressive scum ?

    We might as well give up now then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sounds about right. Haters gonna hate, so there will ALWAYS be enemies who exist solely because WE exist. And as long as enemies exist, there WILL come an Omnicidal Maniac who will seek to destroy the world simply for us existing. Ergo, anything less than brutal autocracy will eventually cause The End of The World. Ask yourself; why can't we find other intelligent life in the galaxy?

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A Puzzle

    What are they really after? I don't believe that they are so stupid as to expect this to fly. Even Joe (really thick) Public is beginning to see the problem here, and also that almost all of these attackers were apparently already under suspicion.

    At the risk of tinfoil hattery, I can't help thinking there some other agenda this is masking.

    1. pleb

      Re: A Puzzle

      Google (UK): anti terror laws council

  4. Rol Silver badge

    There was a time.....

    After the latest carnage on the road, government ministers are revisiting lowering the speed limit and looking too, to boost employment, as the man with a red flag walking in front of your vehicle is touted as the only solution.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: There was a time.....

      Getting re-elected by turning another group of people into villains has been standard practice for politicians for millennia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There was a time.....

        "Getting re-elected by turning another group of people into villains has been standard practice for politicians for millennia."

        It has also been a standard tactic by terrorists to provoke such reactions from politicians. The resulting alienation then increases their recruiting grounds in the perceived "villains".

  5. Doc Ock

    Knee, stop reacting like that you jerk.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    And if Manchester didn't happen, they wouldn't have wanted backdoors on everything ever

    Pull the other one, it's got bells on it.

    The IPA was passed with "please see technical capability notice for details" all over the place and the technical notice can be anything the government wants. It was just a matter of time.

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    Al Qaeda have/had rules on the use of mobile technology during their "meetings". It involved going to the one location, taking apart the mobile phone by removing the battery and sim card. You'd leave it all there bar the battery (I think), then travel to a 2nd destination and leave the other part of the mobile, and then travel to the 3rd location for the meeting. They did this because they didn't trust the technology to not let the powers that be spy on them. This was all in place long before the Snowden leaks.

    So the terrorists are already wise to how technology can be used against them. The more the media and Government push the agenda of encryption being bad and banning it doesn't mean it will let the security forces/army/men in black monitor potential terrorists any easier. The terrorists will see the same shit we're seeing, and they will make a plan to tip toe around it. Meaning they're driven more underground, using clandestine methods of communication, meaning they're harder to track and pin down.

    The terrorists go in to the shadows even more, while the general public are opened up to inspection against our permission. Imagine now a Tory government gets in to power on 9th June, and they decide over the 5 years to target those who speak out against May and her policies. Those people can be found under "terrorism" acts as it's such a loose term. Likewise, if a Labour government get in whats to stop them targetting those who hate immigrants coming in to the country and treat them as far-right terrorists using the same protocols?

    TL;DR: The country's fucked and the only way to restore pride in the nation is to build a giant working homage to George Orwell's 1984, because terrorism.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can't the government just require all ISPs (including VPNs) to perform man-in-the-middle interception on all secure traffic? I suspect that if you work in any largish company this is already done on all your web browsing. Can't use Firefox at work because of all the inception certificate warnings. IE is set to "trust" the new fake certificates...

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        "Can't the government just require all ISPs (including VPNs) to perform man-in-the-middle interception on all secure traffic?"

        How does that help? All that allows is access to private and secure data.

        Would you appreciate some wanker intercepting the traffic between your site and Amazon when making a purchase? Or would you appreciate it if someone was spying on your comunications between you and some random woman you met on Match.com?

        Liberty is something to be fought for, not to have concessions made on.

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

        "Can't the government just require all ISPs (including VPNs) to perform man-in-the-middle interception on all secure traffic?"

        Many applications these days pin the correct certificate and will fail to work if you try and substitute a fake.

        I do so hope Google, WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. etc just refuse to cooperate. Which seems likely - otherwise North Korea, Iran, Israel, China and every other human rights abuser on the planet will be saying me too, me too...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Unless the fake COMES FIRST or somehow all the other certs get invalidated, basically replacing the pin. How else do corporate secure proxies work? Wouldn't a State-level one apply the same principles?

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            "How else do corporate secure proxies work"

            You have to bypass SSL inspection for applications that pin or properly check the certificate matches what they are inspecting. Otherwise they don't work.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want to help stop this you should help the Open Rights Group and you should vote them out on June 8th

    https://www.openrightsgroup.org/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      good idea but seriously

      please stop and think long and hard before voting for Jeremy C. His idea of a society is one where the state controls everything and I mean everything. Everything nationalised and the Unions with offices in Downing St.

      IMHO, his ideas for a socialist utopia went out of fashion in the 1970's (along with the various Marxists, Trots, Commies, Maoists and the rest on the hard left).

      The rich will flee abroad taking their money with them and leaving the rest of us plebs to pick up the bill. IT happened before when there was a 95% top rate of tax. It is even easier now to move your money to safe havens (even the EU will be a safe haven).

      The so called fully costed Manifesto assumes that None of the top 10% of income earners moves abroad.

      There goes a squadron of pigs taking off from Heathrow as I speak.

      AFAIK, the questions for many of us at this electionare as follows:-

      1) Who will get us the best deal in the Brexit talks?

      2) Who is going to replace Jeremy C as leader of the Labor Party when it all comes apart at the seams?

      Then make up your own mind and vote accordingly.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: good idea but seriously

        Frau May came out with her party's manifesto, basically saying if you have dimentia the state will claim your home and assets above £100,000 to "pay for your care". Even though they'd have paid in to the system their entire lives.

        Everyone hated the idea. Then the next day May says "well it'll be up for discussion". Within a day she changed her mind, did a U-turn.

        And you expect her to get the best deal for Brexit?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

          Putting aside whether she's changed her mind or not (it seems to be both at the same time), she won't say what her proposed ceiling is until after the election which is odd. But it'll certainly be high enough to not matter for the 99% and low enough not to bother the 1%.

          1. Captain Hogwash

            Re: it seems to be both at the same time

            That's listed in the manual's glossary as 'doublethink'.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

          "if you have dimentia the state will claim your home and assets above £100,000 to "pay for your care"."

          They made you pay up to £72K before anyway if you were well off. Seems perfectly reasonable to me that the well off pay for their own care - and why should a valuable home be excluded. The money is taken from your estate. Seems rather generous to me excluding the last £100K.

          We have an aging population, and the current approach (and the pensions triple lock too) is unsustainable - and anyway why should the working be subsidising the well off and retired?

          "And you expect her to get the best deal for Brexit?"

          Yes, she's a hard nosed bitch.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

            Then who pays for the care of the elderly POOR?

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: good idea but seriously

              "Then who pays for the care of the elderly POOR?"

              The tax payer. Just like now. No change there from any party as far as I am aware.

          2. wolfetone Silver badge

            @TheVogon

            "They made you pay up to £72K before anyway if you were well off. Seems perfectly reasonable to me that the well off pay for their own care - and why should a valuable home be excluded. The money is taken from your estate. Seems rather generous to me excluding the last £100K."

            The NHS is "cradle to grave", and every single one of us pays for it. I wouldn't mind if dimentia was self inflicted, like liver cirrhosis is to alcoholics and CPOD is to 40-a-day chain smokers. But dimentia can affect us all and isn't prejudice against who we are. We've paid in to a system that has been systematically destroyed by a Conservative agenda where they want to implement an American-style health and social care system, where no matter what illness you have, if your chequebook isn't big enough you're not getting treated. Thats vile and inhumane.

            "We have an aging population, and the current approach (and the pensions triple lock too) is unsustainable - and anyway why should the working be subsidising the well off and retired?"

            We have all the money in the world to go to wars to murder innocent people, but we can't spare a few quid to keep Dorris in heating and condensed milk?

            "and anyway why should the working be subsidising the well off and retired?"

            Why should those who are now retired (well off or not) have spent their working lives to clean the arse of people like you who were too young to do anything for themselves? It's called society. Those who can help those who can't. If the funding for such things was written on your P60 or council tax form so you could see where your money went, we're talking pennies per month. It's nothing. We're one of the richest countries in the world, why can't we help those who have spent their lives working?

            "Yes, she's a hard nosed bitch."

            But at what point is she a hard nosed bitch? She changes her mind more often than she changes her knickers and leather trousers. Strikes me she's a clueless bitch.

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

              "The NHS is "cradle to grave", and every single one of us pays for it"

              The NHS is a compromise between what we can afford versus what we would want in an ideal world.

              .We pay for it through a variety of taxes - largely income related like National Insurance. This is a just another way of taxing the rich for using the NHS.

              "has been systematically destroyed by a Conservative agenda where they want to implement an American-style health and social care system"

              It was Labour that introduced PFI contracts and wanted to privatise the NHS - and has landed us with many very expensive shiny new hospitals that we will be paying inflated prices for over decades. The Conservatives have significantly increased healthcare spending over the last government, and have made no moves to privatise the NHS over what Labour already put in place with PFI.

              "We have all the money in the world to go to wars to murder innocent people, but we can't spare a few quid to keep Dorris in heating and condensed milk?"

              Pensions have been increasing above inflation for a while now, so not the case (unless you are rich and don't need the heating allowance - which was for instance being paid to rich OAPS living in the Canary Islands!)

              "It's called society"

              No, it's called basic economics. The Healthcare and pensions system is supported in real time by tax payers. People are not contributing into an investment fund they will draw off against later like a normal pension fund. In an ideal and sensible world we would have done this like Norway has, but we have not. Therefore those still paying tax have to support those that do not. So maintaining the same level of benefits in an aging population has an ever increasing load on those that still work and pay taxes. So the money has to come from somewhere - and those that are old and well off sharing the tax burden makes sense to me.

              " we're talking pennies per month. It's nothing"

              No, it isn't. Welfare, Health and Pensions together account for 52% of UK public spending. The winter fuel allowance alone costs a couple of billion, and social care costs are over £20 billion.

              "Strikes me she's a clueless bitch."

              Seems pretty on the ball to me. And she is certainly way ahead of Corbyn in credibility and ability.

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

              "if your chequebook isn't big enough you're not getting treated"

              Complete rubbish. This is about taxing the well off. The poor continue to get social care and fuel allowance for free.

            3. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

              It seems clear that you don't understand how the NHS, pensions and Social care are funded. And hence why Labour's policies are unsustainable.

              There is a good and politically neutral summary here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/05/27/aging-population-creaking-liability-working-population/

      2. Graham Cobb

        Re: good idea but seriously

        I fully agree that both the Tories and Labour are massively authoritarian. I strongly suggest not focusing on Left-Right but on the other axis of the Political Compass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_compass): Authoritarian-Libertarian.

        On that basis, consider voting for either the LibDems or the Greens, to put a stop to this authoritarian rubbish. After all, it was the LibDems who forced cancellation of Labour's identity card scheme, which the Tories would have been very happy to continue with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: good idea but seriously

          "On that basis, consider voting for either the LibDems or the Greens, to put a stop to this authoritarian rubbish."

          Unfortunately with the FPTP system that will split the anti-Tory vote in some Labour/Tory marginals. The best one can scheme for is a tactical vote to get another hung Parliament. In some places that means Lib-Dems etc voting Labour as the only action likely to swing a seat away from the Tories. Even some Labour local groups are going for such anti-Tory tactics in areas where Labour is not the best placed contender.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

            All of these people are forgetting another large group, composed of the disposessed.

            Conservative voters who do not like May. Conservative Remainers. Conservative Libertarians.

            Now where is the best place for a centre right voter who would never touch Corbyn, would get Farage done as a traitor and thinks the government should leave us alone?

            They can't all move to Ken Clarkes constituency.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

          I live in what was a Conservative constituency with strong Labour opposition (now Strong and Stable party).

          Racist party did well, then Greens.

          My was decent MP has been hijacked by the Strong and Stable party. The opposition now loves Corbyn after being anti Corbyn.

          No idea why anyone would vote UKIP.

          To be honest I would be throwing away my vote going anything but those two. But I will have to.

          At least I will have done something I believed in.

          Anyway I reckon SS Party PPC will get in as the Kippers will support him, the Corbyn hating left wingers will go Green, and the Conservative and Centrist Labour Remainers, Lib Dem.

        3. SundogUK

          Re: good idea but seriously

          You seriously think the greens are not authoritarian? I have this bridge you may be interested in...

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

            They are a bit, but compared to May

      3. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: good idea but seriously

        "1) Who will get us the best deal in the Brexit talks?"

        I'll answer just this one question to put your whole argument to bed.

        If Corbyn wins, the Brexit negotiation will be carried out by Sir Keir Starmer, KCB, QC. If May wins, she will send Boris Johnson.

        So, who do you want to negotiate Brexit again?

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