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. Busby

    Why would anyone pay any attention to a word that man utters is beyond me. Hard to think of many ministers from the Blair era with a lower reputation. Not exactly shocking that he is spreading FUD around a move that has been almost universally received positively by everyone other than the security services.

    All the encryption does is restore some semblance of privacy that Blunkett's government did more than most to erode.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      I pay attention.

      Every time one of these guys speaks I increase key sizes and trim older ciphers and hash algos and increase the number of rounds of sha-512 on our one-way stuff (passwords and the like).

      Still taking David? 4096 bit. Still talking? 8192 bit. Still talking? New GCHQ boss steps in. That'll be 16384 bit. Did you stop yet?

      I'm happy to keep throwing CPU time at this problem until the clowns say, y'know, we were wrong and - sorry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Is it wrong to punch the lights out of someone if they are already blind?

        The urge is strong with this one!

    2. Ted Treen
      Big Brother

      "...'Tech giants who encrypt comms are unwittingly aiding terrorists', claims ex-Home Sec Blunkett..."

      And I suppose those wicked stationers who make opaque envelopes preventing any old jobsworth reading our mail are just as guilty...

      Although without "brown envelopes", how would our esteemed rulers receive their 'extras'? - so I suppose they'll have to stay.

    3. Amorous Cowherder

      Given that he was a racist right-wing wolf in left-wing sheep's clothes, I wouldn't trust him as far as I could spit him. As Mark Thomas said at the time Blunkett was in office, "Anyone like to tell Blunkett his dog's black?".

  2. choleric

    Is there any way of discovering whether Blunkett held these views before he was elected or if he only started espousing them after being worked on by a few civil/secret service types?

    If he's serious then he really ought to have banned letters sent in envelopes while he was Home Secretary and insisted everything was written on postcards, because, you know, envelopes make it impossible to read what's inside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "after being worked on by a few civil/secret service types"

      You may recall that Blunkett had a highly publicised affair with an American publisher. I imagine as a result he wants nobody to be able to broadcast embarrassing stuff about politicians, and especially leakers from within Government. I suspect his views were formed by his own extra curricular activities.

      Everything I have ever heard about him makes me more convinced that it would be unsafe for me to be in the same room with him and a rotten tomato. I know it is deeply wrong to take advantage of a blind man, but the temptation would be terrible.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Although some home secretaries (like Jack Straw) only turn into raving loonies on appointment - as a former resident of the People's Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire I can confirm that Blunkett was a couple of gulags short of a politburo back then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Was the downvote a fan of Blunkett or an enemy of Straw?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          enemy of Straw

          Well, some of us can remember the former President of the NUS. The one thing that put me off socialism as a student (which otherwise seemed an admirable idea) was that the "socialists" in the NUS seemed every bit as ghastly as the right-wingers in the Union or the Monday Club.

          But no, I didn't downvote.

          1. i like crisps

            Re: enemy of Straw

            I joined the NUS, back in the day, not because i was a politcally motivated individual but because if you joined up you could rent the Table Tennis bats for 'half price' in the rec room at break time...i'm still that shallow.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Not socialists

            Well, some of us can remember the former President of the NUS. The one thing that put me off socialism as a student (which otherwise seemed an admirable idea) was that the "socialists" in the NUS seemed every bit as ghastly as the right-wingers in the Union or the Monday Club.

            Thanks for putting "socialists" in quotes. Allow me to skip a political rant and summarise it in one sentence: New Labour were IMHO frauds, end to end, whose sole purpose was to line their own pockets as fast as they could manage. Getting re-elected astounded them, but they took it in good stride and stripped whatever they had left. That's why Tony let Gordon in when they were re-elected again: someone had to take the fall, and if they couldn't drop it on the opposition, well, then on Gordon.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Not socialists

              er, AC, how old do you think I am? When I was a student, New Labour was 25 years in the future. And the "socialists" to which I refer belonged to things like the SWP, which consisted of rich kids pretending to be working class and sounding like Stalin on a bad day in 1936.

              "New Labour" was the sort of people who in the 1960s were running the Union; both eyes firmly on the main chance.

      2. Malmesbury

        Michael Howard now stands out as an example of liberal mindness in Home Secretaries. Does that make you giggle, or weep?

        His description of how, after every incident, a variety of civil servants would crawl out of the woodwork, bearing measures that were variously - insane, fascist or both......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Michael Howard - @Malmesbury

          His one time PPS was our MP and kept us entertained one lunchtime with an account of the civil servants coming up with this stuff, none of which ever had the slightest evidential backing. So I can confirm this post.

          Both he and Howard had the misfortune to be in the party of the loony right wing, which made the loonies more difficult to ignore.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Gimp

          "His description of how, after every incident, a variety of civil servants would crawl out of the woodwork, bearing measures that were variously - insane, fascist or both......"

          Data fetishists at work.

      3. Mad Chaz

        I'd suspect a fan of gulags. I wouldn't want something I like associated with that man even remotely either.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A sudden attack of the downvotes

        A number of posts on this thread have suddenly acquired a downvote. I suspect Matt Bryant has entered the room.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ^ This

      This is why I like to read the comments.

  3. JP19

    "should wake up to reality"

    Maybe he should wake up to the reality that these companies are giving customers what they want - and in this case what they want has been highlighted by politicians and governments giving them what they didn't want.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "should wake up to reality"

      Exactly. If the governments weren't infringing the rights of their citizens, the rights they should be protecting, then the citizens wouldn't be asking for secure data storage and companies wouldn't be responding.

      The governments made their bed and now they don't want to lie in it.

      Don't look over here. Ooh, look at that!

    2. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: "should wake up to reality"

      And one of the better tools for anonymity on the internet was TOR, which happened to be created and funded by the US Naval Laboratory and the US Department of State. If anonymity on the internet is some awful thing that only terrorists find useful, why the f*** was it funded by our side? Hmm....

      Talk about clueless!

  4. moiety

    Everybody starting to encrypt everything is just a reaction to the massive, massive overstepping of bounds by the various letter agencies.

    If you get burgled, you have a look at better locks and maybe an alarm system. If you get your private emails plundered, you start looking for solutions there too. If the letter agencies hadn't been taking the piss on an epic scale; they wouldn't be getting the reaction that they are now seeing.

    Blunkett can go fuck himself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @moiety - what Blunkett can do

      The thought is so horrible that I really hope he insists on his right to be forgotten. Completely, utterly and as soon as possible.

      Even John Major + Edwina Currie seems like a light romantic comedy by comparison.

    2. GeoBolt
      Pint

      You, Sir, have hit the nail right on the head. Have another upvote.

  5. Spoddyhalfwit

    It's their own fault

    If they'd stuck to reading the emails of terrorists they'd not be facing this problem. But unfortunately when those in power have the capability to read EVERYONE'S mail, they can't resist - foreign companies, protest groups, foreign leaders, you and me.

    So tech companies should encrypt everything, and the spooks can go back to having to get warrants etc - no problem for terrorist suspects, but might be tricky to justify for Angela Merkels phone, or the Brazilian State oil company, or whatever other economic target they have.

  6. Chris Miller

    Blunkett or Lane-Fox

    Which is more clueless about the Internet and computers in general? Which to detest more? Decisions, decisions.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Blunkett or Lane-Fox

      It's a bit like the Jeffery Archer suing the Daily Mail. You don't know who to cheer for - you just hope it's a long drawn out fight.

      1. ISP

        Re: Blunkett or Lane-Fox

        " you just hope it's a long drawn out fight."

        That does mean you're cheering for the lawyers though...

        1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Blunkett or Lane-Fox

          Well if you toss certain people that really, really should be got rid off by tossing them into an ocean full of sharks, well wouldn't/shouldn't you really, really cheer for the sharks?

        2. kmac499

          Re: Blunkett or Lane-Fox

          There's always the hope one of the litigants will declare themselves bankrupt on loosing. Then at least one set of lawyers gets stuffed..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to fear

    IIRC it was David Blunkett as Home Secretary who said that everyone's PCs should be open to random searches by the police. He also said that anyone buying a child an ice cream should be investigated. He even used the immortal words "If you are innocent you have nothing to fear from a police investigation",

    Another politician at the time said "David Blunkett wants everyone in jail who isn't David Blunkett.".

    Most Home Secretaries seem to go totalitarian when they are appointed. The only exception that springs to mind was Roy Jenkins. Unfortunately he set the expectation for us first time voters that the 1970s would herald a golden age of personal liberty. Politicians have been a disappointment ever since.

    1. FlatSpot
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nothing to fear

      The Power of Nightmares...

  8. DryBones

    Breathtaking

    I, for one, welcome the time when all these politicians, and all these spook agencies, sit back wide-eyed and stunned, and realize, "My God, they're not buying it."

    Lies, truth... They've shown we can't tell the difference, so we're forced to not believe any of it.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Breathtaking

      Ah.. that will happen when pigs fly and unicorns once again trod the earth.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Breathtaking

      Read http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1984 again.

      Then consider why, as far back as 1996, this type of reaction by the letter agencies and the politicos who listen to them was entirely expected. Nothing changes, Orwell was right.

  9. ratfox Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Fuck terrorism

    Terrorism causes a number of death and injuries that is insignificant compared to, say, the flu. There are more people killed by lightning strikes than by terrorism. It simply is not worthy of attention.

    And it most definitely does not justify extraordinary rights for the government to peer into our every thoughts.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Fuck terrorism

      I believe that was part of Blunkett's "burn the witches" campaign to prevent lightning strikes.

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Fuck terrorism

      The number of deaths and injuries is irrelevant. The measures are in place to control you and I, not the terrorists. The sure sign of corrupt Governments is when they bring in ever more unjustifiable laws in the name of preventing XYZ which, as a useful sideline, also help to diminish open protest and dissent, prevent adequate oversight or supervision of the state apparatus, and keep the subjects controlled thereby securing their ruling class status. Ability to protest outside of Parliament in Westminster? Total inability to ever report on a security service operation in Australia even if a tragedy resulted and dozens of innocents were killed? Military equipment and snipers used for crowd control in US? There are some fine examples out there.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Fuck terrorism

        Indeed, it's all about weeding out political dissent in the future. Being able to 'remove' those from society that would incite the 99% to wake up and take back what should be theirs.

        The Western Govts. will do all they can to avoid the revolution that happened in Eastern Europe in the early 90's happening here.

        Their think tanks have run the numbers. They know they are on borrowed time unless they keep tight control over us.

        1. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Unhappy

          99%

          Actually, research by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war showed that if you identify - and isolate - the small number of "leaders", the remaining prisoners are incredibly easy to control - requiring much less [skilled] manpower which can then be sent to the front.

          IIRC it was roundabout 5% or 1 in 20. And they were quite easy to spot ....

    3. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Fuck terrorism

      Indeed! And so long as the media play to the terrorists by over reporting every little incident, they play right into the hands of the terrorists. The objective is to have the people force the governments into changes that the people will discover they can no longer tolerate, thus forcing social change. Otherwise known as a revolution that they can hopefully subvert and control. Yeah, it's hard on the people that are on the receiving end of a terrorist attack/incident, but damn.... (I've been saying all of this too often and in the same style of late. Sorry.) And here, in Blunket, and the our TLA agencies pushing for new powers and complaining about the people and industry not going along with their agenda which spirals it up further. Bluncket and crew are literally dancing to the tune of the terrorists game plan. Idiots.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Frack fake (state) anti-terorism

    Some states, including the UK, have become so Fascist or State Communist that they now effectively regard anyone who wants privacy, or even peacefully opposes them, as terrorists; this is corruption, so not OK!

    Blunkett is one of the turds who supports oppression (including this attitude) and conquest which ironically gives rise to real terrorists!

  11. i like crisps

    NO, NO, COME ON NOW, BE FAIR.

    I think its only right and proper that in a 21st Century Britain a disabled person, like Mr Blunket should have the right to be able to be a Total Fucking Cunt like any 'able bodied' person can.

    It's not the dark ages anymore is it?

  12. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Brain's mush, doc?

    [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.

    Politicians should also not be allowed to get away with the absurd idea that they can randomly string words together that pop up in their diseased control-obsessed minds and hope to get away with it. It's basically incitement to (fasc|commun)ism of the standard sort, so probably hate speech.

    Time for the Fletcher Memorial Home, Blunky. It's not going to hurt one bit.

    And "terrorists spread genocide?". I would think if they spread genocide, they are no longer terrorists, they are on the level of state actors.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Brain's mush, doc?

      Oh, did I mention that there is a NATO member actively helping ISIS?

      ‘ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally': Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation

      Yep, better watch the little suburbanites with their crypto.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brain's mush, doc?

        IIRC Turkey has denied it committed genocide in Armenia. They have certainly tried hard enough to destroy the language and culture of their Kurdish minority. Now they seem content to let ISIL destroy the Kurds - as long as they don't cross into Turkey.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brain's mush, doc?

          Well, if they committed genocide, where are all the Armenians jumping up and down complaining about it?

          Personally, I'd give nuclear arms and some serious air capability to the Kurds. They seem about as sensible (if not more so) than the Israelis, their attitude to women is perhaps the most enlightened in the region, and they have some really good cake shops in North London. A Kurdish Middle East would be a lot better than it is at present.

  13. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    jumping the shark much?

    genocide?

  14. Mahou Saru

    All this anti encryption posturing is nonsense unless...

    they are trying to summon a chaos god who embodies fear and uncertainty.

    Encryption has been around for as long as there has been secrets. Any evil master mind would cover their tracks no matter if their devices are encrypted by default or not. Of course they would divulge their secret plan to the hero at the end.

  15. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      2. Mark 65 Silver badge

        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?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            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 :)

    2. Vic

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

      He's a nice enough person

      [Citation needed]

      Vic.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      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.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        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.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          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.

        2. Vic

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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.

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            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.

      2. Ted Treen
        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.

  18. Brent Longborough
    WTF?

    I fear the Terrists...

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

    1. i like crisps
      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!

    2. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: I fear the Terrists...

      foster fear and instability around the world...

      Yes you do Blunkett. Please piss off.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      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.

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Now there's a first...

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

  20. Anomalous Cowshed

    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

  21. DavCrav Silver badge

    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.

  22. i like crisps
    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.

  23. Uberseehandel

    Dog House Rules

    I always thought his dog wrote all his speeches.

    I was very impressed by the dog.

    1. i like crisps

      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.

  24. Christoph Silver badge

    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.

    1. Uberseehandel

      Re: Genocide?

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

      1. WatAWorld

        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."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  25. zen1

    just wow...

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

    What a tool

  26. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      "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.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

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

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

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      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?

  27. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Bar Stewards

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. WatAWorld

        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.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: SPOTTED THE DELIBERATE MISTAKE

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

      Manchester dogs home was torched.

  29. Stuart Halliday

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

  30. LaeMing

    Re: Blunket.

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

  31. i like crisps

    COMFORT BLANKET

    But no Comfort Blunket :(

  32. Mad Chaz

    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.

  33. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "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.)

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      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.

      1. WatAWorld

        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.

  34. Graham Marsden
    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.

  35. WatAWorld

    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.

    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.

  36. phil dude
    Joke

    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....

    P.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The sweeney...?

      They both had Jags.

      Now the police have Astra diesels

      Coincidence?

      1. Vic

        Re: The sweeney...?

        They both had Jags.

        Jags?

        They had a Granada...

        Vic.

  37. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Pretty soon passwords will no longer be a problem

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

  38. 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 ?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    regular legislative overhauls to RIPA... needed

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

  40. 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
      FAIL

      Braille is encryption

      Perhaps he would like to start there?

  41. Incredulous
    WTF?

    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?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10050/david_blunkett/sheffield%2C_brightside_and_hillsborough/votes

    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.

  43. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    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?

    (cite)

    and less than 100 in terrorist attacks.

    I know who I'm more afraid of.

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

    Paranoid?

    Or not paranoid enough?

  47. 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!

  48. Allonymous Coward
    WTF?

    I'm stunned

    I just agreed with something MLF said.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plonker

    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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    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.

  53. JaitcH
    WTF?

    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.

  54. 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?

      Vic.

  55. --. --- -..

    Gratuitous Vinay Gupta link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KybZAEm0stY&feature=youtu.be

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