back to article What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Encrypted communications will be backdoored or banned in the UK if the Conservatives win the next election, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged. Youtube Video The UK government has always had the power, “in extremis,” to read Brits' personal post and eavesdrop on electronic chatter, he repeatedly insisted on Monday in a …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Ahh The dereaded VPN

    The app that allows you to connect securely to your company mothership using encryption.

    As such it is a prime candidate for being banned.

    Will gov.uk try to outlaw its use?

    They can try but they will fail. The corporae sponsors of the ConDem Gov will have something to say about that with an election looming.

    Mind you, Junos Pulse could do with being wiped off the face of the earth for interfering with VM private networks.

    1. Stuart 22

      Am I a wrung'en?

      I have my own mailserver not located in the UK. I connect direct to that by TLS from my local mail agents or SSL Webmail from my browsers. So are they going to ban https://anything.anywhere and have they told Google?

      Muppets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I a wrung'en?

        All 'Call me Dave' is showing, along with all the other politicians and a vast amount of top and middle level civil servants, is that they know absolutely nothing about the internet and computers.

        1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: Am I a wrung'en?

          ...they know absolutely nothing about the internet and computers.

          <TINFOIL>These sorts of pronouncements strike me as serving the function of smoke screen. That is to say that while various pols are going on about the terrible thing that is widespread use of encryption, there are any number of people working in the back room to break it. Once it has been broken, I would not expect the wailing and gnashing of teeth over enhanced security to stop. I would expect our officials to continue to complain that it gets in the way of doing their jobs protecting the people while they proceed merrily on their way with access to whatever they want.</TINFOIL>

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Am I a wrung'en?

          middle level civil servants, is that they know absolutely nothin And why do you expect it to be any different?

          Ad on the Register: GCHQ starting salary for a trainee analyst: 17k-21.6K.

          From the same Register: starting graduate salary in Aldi - 42K.

          So what "Call me Dave' is spewing reflects the amount of money 'Call me Dave''s Government is paying for technical expertise in the key field they see as essential in the "war against terror". That's all.

        3. Jim 59

          Re: Am I a wrung'en?

          @Ivan 4 the UK government (cabinet) contains no engineers or scientists.

          unlike Mrs Thatcher (BSc Chemistry)

          1. Hans 1 Silver badge

            Re: Am I a wrung'en?

            > unlike Mrs Thatcher (BSc Chemistry)

            She must have been sniffing lead vapours day in, day out.

        4. HOW many?

          Re: Am I a wrung'en?

          Not only do they not know much about IT - They don't know THAT much about the people they want to vote for 'em either…….

          Frankly I don't much like the posh boy and I utterly loath May

          BUT

          All the other B'stards seem irrevocably committed to stealing the pittance I have managed to squirrel away – Apparently to offset their ****ing up of most things economic.

          And that pushes me reluctantly into having to support posh boy.

          Yet somehow everytime the blue rinse ladies of their lame focus groups come out with more ‘great concepts’ like this (when they’re not obsessing about anyone having the temerity to drive at more then 20 mph) they seem hell bent on making it impossible for me to actually vote for ‘em!

          This 1984 ‘Freedom’ to be surveilled - rather than actually have free speech (which they killed off in the 90s) - is unconscionable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I a wrung'en?

        Yep, I think it is possible without banning SSL, as has been demonstrated by the DPRK. You simply turn the country's WAN into an intranet and mandate that all browsers (need there be more than one?) accept only certs signed by Ms May. Then you have a box that sits in the middle that intercepts all SSL traffic.

        Et voila, a computer network that is as secure as the POTS.

        1. TonyHoyle

          Re: Am I a wrung'en?

          If they MITM SSL you just wrap SSL in SSL.. they still only see encrypted traffic.

          Not that it'd happen - ecommerce and banking, and therefore a large part of the economy, relies on secure financial transaciions.

          1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

            Re: Am I a wrung'en?

            'relies on secure financial transaciions'

            Are you so naive that you think the spooks dont [have the capability to] monitor this?

            The US openly admits it hoovers all the SWIFT banking records. All in the name of terrizm of course...

            One of the many reports on the matter

            Edit: perhaps not all, just the ones they like the look of.

            1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

              Re: Am I a wrung'en?

              The security for my online banking serves two purposes. Firstly, it stops others from seeing what transactions I am carrying out. If, as you suggest, the authorities are able to demand that banks hand over the transaction details afterwards, this still means that no-one else can spy on me. The banks probably don't care one way or the other.

              Secondly, it stops me from turning round to my bank and saying "I didn't do that". I really, really doubt that the banks would be happy with that. If Dave really did manage to enforce a ban on encrypted connections within the UK, the City of London would have to find another country to exist in. I really, really doubt that Dave would be happy with that.

      3. Joseph Eoff

        Re: Am I a wrung'en?

        Would you people please stop insulting muppets?

        Muppets have shown themselves to be consistently more intelligent, wise, and entertaining than all the politicians on this planet.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Muppets

    2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      Re: Ahh The dereaded VPN

      They won't outlaw VPNs...

      They will probably mandate that all VPNs are encrypted with certs from 'authorised' or 'known' certificate authorites. (which the spooks can already MITM)

      cough*easily removable fig leaf*cough

    3. streaky Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Ahh The dereaded VPN

      Guys you can't "outlaw VPN" without crashing the entire economy of the entire country (because one can't tell the difference).

      By even arguing over this you're actually worse than Cameron and his clueless government. If it did come to pass I'd raise up an army anyway so..

      Also one does not arbitrarily "break encryption", and DC would never make the rich pay enough tax to even throw 1 trillionth of the required resources at the first email they want to read sooooo.. It's a funny joke but it has no basis in reality.

    4. Jim 59

      Risk vs benefit

      Would we rather give up all privacy and have no terrorist attacks, or put up with a few attacks and keep all of our encryption ?

      I would compare it to roads. About 8 people will die today on UK roads, as they do every day. The harsh truth is that we put up with this because it is outweighed by the huge benefit of roads. We do a lot to minimize the carnage, but we don't ban cars. Sorry if that comes across callous, but I am getting to a point here.

      If terrorists kill up to (say) 20 citizens in the UK every year, are we happy to put up with that to maintain freedom ? Many people might say "yes". How about 100 ? Or 1000 ? Is anybody going to stick their neck out and name a number ? If a certain disease killed 100 people in the UK a year, would we be as worried, or is that different ?

      1. CommanderGalaxian

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        You've based your figures on a seriously flawed assumption - that terrorism and encryption are the same thing.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        All very logical, however, politics has gone way beyond logic, particularly over saving 'lives'.So politicians et al jump up and down if the total number of deaths go up, but ignore the data which shows that this is simply an effect of a larger population and in fact the number of deaths per 1,000 may have gone down.

        So what will happen is that encryption will be banned and all bank transactions will be conducted in person over the counter, progress!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        Would we rather give up all privacy and have no terrorist attacks, or put up with a few attacks and keep all of our encryption ?

        Its not even that simple a choice.

        Would we rather give up all privacy and possibly have a few less terrorist attacks or put up with the CURRENT LEVEL of attacks and keep all of our encryption.

        Even if there were no encryption, there would be terrorist attacks. Terrorists have been able to mount attacks against governments and societies since long before the internet.

      4. Champ

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        This gets to the very nub of the argument - have an upvote.

        I maintain that the only response to terrorism is to say to the terrorists "Is that all you've got?" They'll have a hard time murdering all 60 million people in the UK. Or ~300 million in the US and/or EU.

        You only have to fly anywhere nowadays to see that "the terrorists have won". Trying to counter-terrorism immediately concedes the agenda to the bad guys.

      5. streaky Silver badge

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        @Jim 59

        Yeah neither the internet nor crypto have anything to do with terrorism. If there was somehow some way to stop all internet terrorist activity they'd just switch to sending letters around or the ever classic two tins and a long piece of string or better still meet in a bar once a week.

        For damaging the security of crypto (which is so disgustingly outside the realms of the UK security services capability I've lost my earlier sense of humour on the subject) you trash the UK's economy and arguably the world because all banking, shopping, trading etc transactions have to stop while we come up with something new.

        VPNs, your connection with Amazon, banking trades, TOR etc work off the same protocols which is precisely what confers security on them in the first place - they all look the same to anybody who doesn't have the right private keys.

        "Would we rather give up all privacy and possibly have a few less terrorist attacks or put up with the CURRENT LEVEL of attacks and keep all of our encryption."

        If the level of attacks increased (much as I've been ridiculing Donald Trump over this issue) we should probably look at revisiting the relevant laws for defensive weapons before we break our entire way of life and economic system.

      6. Alan Johnson

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        It is all abour risk versus benefit but what is lost in the constant fear mongering by our government assisted by the media is that the rate of death from terrorism is very low far lower than it has been at any other time in my lifetime and arguably at an all time historic low although it is difficult to compare figures back a long way.

        The threat that we are constantly remined about whould be compared to the threat from the IRA when we had regular bombings regualr deaths yet less panic and less erosion of liberties.

        The paradox is that the rarer terrorist attacks become the more afraid of them we seem to get.

        The benefit of new powers is notional at best given how low the rate of attacks is at the moment and the fact that whatever powers are given some attempted attacks will suceeed. WIth negligible benefits the case for more powers does not exist but I expect the powers will be given anyway.

      7. NumptyScrub

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        If terrorists kill up to (say) 20 citizens in the UK every year, are we happy to put up with that to maintain freedom ? Many people might say "yes". How about 100 ? Or 1000 ? Is anybody going to stick their neck out and name a number ? If a certain disease killed 100 people in the UK a year, would we be as worried, or is that different ?

        I'll draw a line in the sand; when terrorism regularly kills more people than cars, I'll support more draconian measures to curb terrorism. If it ever did happen though, I'd have to suspect that someone was deliberately letting them through in order to support an unpopular political agenda (such as curbing or removing basic freedoms from your populace in the name of "safety") ^^;

        Je suis cynique

      8. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        I would compare it to roads. About 8 people will die today on UK roads....

        Sorry, but you have that wrong by almost a factor of two. 4.7 people will die on the roads statistically today. The annual total is 1713.

        Would we rather give up all privacy and have no terrorist attacks, or put up with a few attacks and keep all of our encryption

        Assuming it were an all or nothing choice, you'd probably find that the absence of encryption caused more deaths than actual terrorists. An absence of any encryption would lead to a surge in corporate espionage and a commensurate surge in job losses due to business closure (everyone else will still be encrypted, just not UK data), and correlated surge in suicides. 58 terror deaths since 2000, with NHS figures suggesting that 2008-2010 around 1000 suicides were due to job loss.

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        Encryption is for financial security reasons as well as just privacy.

      10. Jonathan Richards 1
        Stop

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        > Would we rather give up all privacy and have no terrorist attacks

        Bzzzt. False dichotomy. I think it's perfectly possible to surrender altogether too much privacy, or capacity for privacy, and *still* be faced with a threat. Conspiracies worked *before* the Internet, people.

      11. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Risk vs benefit

        I am extremely sceptical that a single terrorist attack would have been prevented if encryption had not been available. Before Blair decided to create a Muslim terrorist threat by invading a virtually unarmed country that was in no way a threat to the UK, it was the Irish that was the big terrorist threat to England. Which is very odd if you believe the nonsense regarding encryption and the need for Internet surveillance, because for the vast majority of the time the IRA were able to carry out their deeds without the Internet or electronic encryption.

        Therefore I simply do not believe that banning encryption and having 100% surveillance of the Internet will make any significant difference to the number of terrorist incidents that take place. Once terrorists or other bad guys know that a particular method of communication is unsafe (which has been at least suspected wrt the Internet for decades), they simply use other methods of communication.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ahh The dereaded VPN

      Welcome to the United Kingdom of Communists. Cameron has completely subverted the meaning of being conservative.

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Good luck Dave

    You have just confirmed any wavering doubts I had about voting for one of the other 2 muppets - or possibly Fardre on the grounds he can't even spell encryption.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Good luck Dave

      What is the betting that Millipede will be thinking along similar lines?

      Or Clegg?

      I think I will ask my MP.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Good luck Dave

        Surprisingly Cleggy seems the closest to getting it right. Shame some of their other policies are so whackdoodle.

        From the Beeb

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30673625

        Mr Clegg said he backed targeted measures to identify suspected extremists and if necessary examine their communications, saying the state had always reserved the right to "steam open a letter" if it thought those behind it meant harm to others.

        But he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that one element of what Mr Cameron was proposing would go much further and would involve "scooping up vast amounts of information on millions of people - children, grandparents and elderly people who do nothing more offensive than visiting gardening centre websites".

        "Privacy is a qualified right. If someone wants to do us harm, we should be able to break their privacy and go after their communications," he said.

        "But the snoopers' charter was not about intercepting communications.

        "It was about storing a record of all your social media activity, of every website you have visited of every single individual in this country, of people who would never dream of doing anyone else any harm, would never dream of becoming a terrorist or having anything to do with extremist ideologies.

        "The question we need to ask ourselves, in a free, open society as we defend our values against the abhorrent attacks we saw in Paris, is where do you draw the line?"

        1. The Mole

          Re: Good luck Dave

          I almost crashed when I listened to that and realised Clegg actually understood the concept much better than the interviewer.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Good luck Dave

            Unfortunately Clegg will be wiped out at the elections by idiots who cannot think for themselves

            1. DPWDC

              Re: Good luck Dave

              Clegg said the same thing last time the elections were coming round, when it was labour that were trying to push through the snoopers charter.

              Once he got a bit of the power, he changed his tone and said that things had changed since then and that the security services needed more powers (and that we needed to raise tuition fees after all... I digress...)

              Now it's election time again, guess what, he'd back to the vote winning line of banning the snoopers charter...

              1. HOW many?

                Re: Good luck Dave

                "Once he (Cleggie) got a bit of the power, he changed his tone...."

                On Student Loans he really did (and yeah breaking that promise could sink him)

                But on this he did not - He really did poke the stick in May's rabid spokes when she demanded the right to rummage through your electronic underwear draw.

                - YOU, however, are either Millipede or Posh Boy posting in disguise and I claim my free hat &/or tee shirt. (I know you're not May because you're lucid).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good luck Dave

        Milibandwagon said his party is considering it.

        So basically he'll wait to see what the public think and then jump on the bandwagon.

        1. Matfink

          Re: Good luck Dave

          You mean there's a politician that actually listens to the public?!

        2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Good luck Dave

          We can only expect any improvement if we can vote in a political party that is prepared to take on the Whitehall mandarins - and we have to support them through all the roadblocks that will be put up in front of them to take them down via trial by media.

          Likely? I won't be holding my breath.

  3. phil dude
    WTF?

    Galileo...

    "Eppur si muove"

    The government is going to try banning the multiplication of numbers soon.

    The reading of certain books.

    If it wasn't painfully reminiscent of what I remember from reading about the trial of Galilieo...

    P.

    1. MrT

      Knee, meet Jerk...

      ...ah, I see you are already acquainted.

      Eppur si muove, indeed.

    2. Dr Paul Taylor

      Re: Galileo...

      I have studied the trial of Galileo but I do not see the connection.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Galileo...

        "I have studied the trial of Galileo but I do not see the connection."

        Simple: Can you REALLY stop people testing conventional wisdom? Even when Galileo was shut up, his knowledge simply moved into Protestant territory where the Church had no sway.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this April 1st?

    Must check calendar....

    So this twat is proposing making https illegal? The foundation upon which trusted Internet commerce rests?

    What f*cking muppet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Take it a step farther (unless thats further)

      Wait until the chips on your credit cards are re-issued without encryption...

    2. Glen 1 Bronze badge

      re: https illegal

      The trust mechanism used is already broken, they dont need to ban it.

      Google results for "snowden https"

    3. veti Silver badge

      https isn't "secure" in the sense that it can't be eavesdropped - never has been, isn't really designed to be. The only assurance it gives is that the server you're talking to is what/where it claims to be. So that's fine, under Dave's rules.

      I think this is a great idea. Given that GCHQ is one of the world leaders in electronic snooping, if this provision is enacted, we'll soon have a list of the best privacy protocols available - it'll be all the ones that are banned in Britain.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        WTF?

        https isn't "secure" in the sense that it can't be eavesdropped - never has been, isn't really designed to be

        Beg pardon? You have a source for that? And I'm not talking about someone who might be able to break it and listen in with enough effort - what you seem to suggest is that it's effectively plaintext and that's not how I remember it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > The only assurance it gives is that the server you're talking to is what/where it claims to be.

        I think you are confusing an SSL encrypted session with certificate verification.

        There is some overlap in the technology but they're not the same thing.

  5. arrbee

    But if you're self-employed, e.g. as a lawyer, your communications are commercial/legal, not personal.

    Or will personal end up meaning "sent to or from a person" ?

    For some reason our current crop of politicians seem determined to construct a fully equipped ready-to-go totalitarian state, just waiting for the wrong people to move in at the top, no assembly required.

    I'm (almost) sure the politicians don't see the risks because they know themselves to be thoroughly decent chaps, but it does seem to show a breathtaking arrogance to ignore the very history they insist our children should be learning.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      We already have the wrong people at the top.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Yup, and we voted them in.

        Democracy needs a reboot.

        1. Evil Graham

          "Yup, and we voted them in."

          This is only true for some values of "we".

          1. TheOtherHobbes

            "We" in this case meaning "No we didn't - we were mugged after the election when that muppet Clegg stitched up everyone who voted for him and revealed he'd been a secret Tory all along."

            As for encryption - the gov wants a regulated and monitored Internet. End of.

            This is just another excuse along the way to making one.

            1. noboard

              but very few voted for him

              Which is why he had to make an alliance with the tories. It amazes me when people complain that the party that got voted into third place has f*ck all say in how the country is run, but then it's the same kind of logic that makes people vote for one pile of shit stained corrupt wankers because they're "better than the other two".

              As soon as people start voting for *anyone* who isn't a main party, the better we'd be. Failing that spoil your ballot paper.

              1. HOW many?

                Re: but very few voted for him

                Where is the Monster Raving Looney Party's Green Chicken Alliance in our hour of need?

                Personally I think Cleggie might *still* be least vile option ........ But as his manefesto echoes Miliipede's 'Take the money off anyone who ever saved anything', Posh Boy could be the only one who won't rob me.

                But then the thought of supporting May, even indirectly, its like,well, bulimia.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: but very few voted for him

                "As soon as people start voting for *anyone* who isn't a main party, the better we'd be. Failing that spoil your ballot paper."

                But the moment you do that, THEY become the main party. Power corrupts. It's the human condition...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ironic

    Ironic that despite the NSA & GCHQ hoovering of so much Internet traffic, emails and phone data, they failed to detect the theft of 100TB of Sony data and they failed to notice the Kouachi brothers quite open pre-terrorist behavior & planning.

    Even more ironic is using their failure to justify even more intrusive behavior.

    Maybe rather than waste taxpayers money hoovering even more, they might contemplate doing some real spy work for a change?

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Ironic

      "they failed to notice the Kouachi brothers quite open pre-terrorist behavior & planning.". Well they knew about them but as somebody in the French police pointed out it's just not possible to assign people to follow each step a suspect takes for the rest of his life among say several hundred similar suspects. The simple solution, a very old one, would be to just jail them or shoot them as suspects. No need to point fingers towards any specific country her.

      I don't think we want such an society. Cameron of course will look for a fast solution not to look undecided. Understandable perhaps but rubbish all the same.

      The solution, as before, is education, there has never been any other working solution, but imagine a politician brave enough to mention anything like that when the "soul" tells him he has to have a solution now.

      1. herman Silver badge

        Re: Ironic

        The police were too busy trying to decode encrypted pron traffic, to notice the Kouachi brothers.

        Therefore, the obvious solution is to outlaw encryption so that they will have more time on their uhm... hands....

      2. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Ironic

        "Well they knew about them but as somebody in the French police pointed out it's just not possible to assign people to follow each step a suspect takes for the rest of his life among say several hundred similar suspects."

        No, the solution is that instead of using MEGA£$€ resources to intercept and scan EVERYONE's traffic, you have deep digital surveillance on each of your several hundred known suspects. It's not possible to assign a physical agent to follow each of hundreds or even thousands of such suspects, but surely for digital communications it is much easier to analyse in detail the communications of thousands of suspects in very high detail rather than high-level scanning of all traffic, which is already happening and is clearly not working. You then use your physical agents to concentrate on high-risk suspects.

        Sure, this way there are still going to be some that slip through the net, but that is always going to happen short of a panopticon state. And the general public needs to be educated about the fact that 100% safety is a myth peddled by lying politicians and that life is not worth living without some level of risk.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Ironic

          To properly analyse someone's communications would take almost the same amount of time as having a policeman sit on their doorstep, otherwise you're just relying on algorithms to decide if someone is is a suspect or not.

          And all it takes to defeat this surveillance is for the terrorists to make their plans face to face, rather than via text message.

          You've basically fallen into the same mindset as the NSA and GCHQ, that data will give you the answers if you can get enough. Unfortunately their success rate argues against this direction.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Ironic

            Unfortunately their success rate argues against this direction.

            As does the success of the IRA in both carrying out it's campaign but also keeping it's membership largely hidden; all this in a society that for many years was under heavy close surveillance.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Ironic

            "And all it takes to defeat this surveillance is for the terrorists to make their plans face to face, rather than via text message."

            And recall the Al Queda was properly paranoid in that respect. They met indoors to avoid satellites and face to face to avoid eavesdropping. About the only way we got to bin Laden was by subverting the nigh-unbreakable inner circle. IOW, we just got lucky.

        2. JeffUK

          Re: Ironic

          The problem is, that without scanning all traffic, it's impossible to identify which bits of data are to/from your suspect. If they have a device that you're not aware of; or use a properly encrypted VPN connection to get onto the interweb (or both) how do you find which traffic is from them without reading it first to find out?

      3. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Ironic

        No government will admit that education is the key, nor will they invest in it. Instead they will dumb down our newsfeeds, restrict our ability to communicate and investigate and censor anything that they don't like the look of.

        Why?

        Because an informed public would realise, en masse, what a bunch of manipulative, lying morons the government are and maybe, just maybe, they would act.

        Keep 'em separated. That's the gov. strategy.

  7. Marcus Fil

    Oh not again

    Brave talk Cameron, but unless you want to award the United Kingdom junk bond status in the world of commerce you should really engage brain before opening mouth. Not everyone who uses encryption is a terrorist or a paedophile - in fact, most are absolutely not. No one trusts governments anymore, and for good reason. Making everyone sensible an outlaw means you will only have the halfwits and the dimwits left on your side - really, really not a good place to be. Work out a way to quietly retract your words - start now BEFORE you face the electorate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh not again

      I say let them go ahead with it. I ain't risking using illegal encryption to pay my taxes and I sure as hell ain't doing it unencrypted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Re: Oh not again

        Not if the site doesn't accept https, you won't.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Oh not again

      @Marcus Fil

      "Not everyone who uses encryption is a terrorist or a paedophile - in fact, most are absolutely not."

      True but the wording is not strong enough - most are not? The huge, vast, overwhelming majority are not.

      This is like banning car boots because some people have used them to transport kidnap victims or bodies. Or banning duct tape because it can be used in the same crime.

      Oh, but encryption makes the police's job harder. BOO FUCKING HOO. Guess what? My job is fucking difficult at times as well and you aren't making laws to make that any easier. Maybe if they could prove to us that they are making the most of the tools they already have then it might just have the barest bit of justification. It still wouldn't be good enough but at least they (i.e. the politicians) wouldn't sound like complete fucking idiots.

      But this is all par for the course for our pollies (and police at times) - some crime or tragedy occurs and no one wants to say that it could have been prevented if only people had done their jobs properly or taken more responsibility for their own actions. No, the problem is clearly that we need more or stricter laws.

      Pedestrians getting hit and killed in Sydney CBD? Drop the speed limit to 40kph - that will do it. We'll conveniently ignore the fact that drivers are running red lights (especial when turning) left right and centre, or that pedestrians are just crossing the road wherever they please without much concern. That can't be the reason because that would mean that police weren't adequately enforcing the existing laws against both those things. That can't be the case . . .

      Some tiny, TINY subset of people in Sydney are sometimes getting violent in a small subset of locations on Friday and Saturday night after a night on the sauce. The solution? Not ensuring bars are actually abiding by the RSA or issuing fines when they aren't. Not working to provide better transport so people aren't all standing around for an hour waiting for a late bus that will only fit half the people on, or competing for a handful of taxis that drive around with their lights off, asking people where they are going before accepting and refusing anyone that lives somewhere they don't feel like driving to. No. Nor do they look at RELAXING licensing laws to promote MORE bars in more places so that everyone isn't crowded into a few small areas, forced to weave their way through a jostling crowd just to get to the bar and then having to wait for 15 minutes to be served, thereafter having to weave back through the crowd to the tiny square metre or two of space they have managed to occupy because there are no tables or seats free.

      No, the solution is clearly to raise prices and restrict licensing ever further. Oh, and force bottleshops to close at 10pm. Solved!

      That was a bit of a tangent but I'm just fed up with the way our governments approach these issues. It's always a disproportionately large response to a relatively small problem and blanket restrictions/penalties/impositions on everyone to address an issue which is due to a tiny percentage of people.

      And always there are existing laws which are not being adequately enforced or resources that are not being effectively utilised. Whether it is terrorism or just general crime - speeding, personal injury, drug abuse, or disruptive behaviour at a sporting match - the laws and tools exist but they want more.

      1. Fluffy Bunny
        Holmes

        Re: Oh not again

        "We'll conveniently ignore the fact that drivers are running red lights (especial when turning) left right and centre"

        Not really. The vast majority of car drivers do obey the road rules. To see a car break a red light is extremely rare. On the other hand, it is near universal practice for cyclists. If anybody is running pedestrians down, it's cyclists.

        Last month, I saw a cyclist waiting at a red light on the way to work. Wanted to call the Pope to report a miracle.

        But have an upvote for the rest of your article.

        1. dan1980

          Re: Oh not again

          You see it all along George street in Sydney every (week)day!

          And of course you DEFINITELY see cyclists (especially couriers) doing it too - almost hit by one just a few days ago as he raced through the lights as I was crossing. In terms of the number of cars that do this vs the number of cars that don't, yes, it's a small percentage but then the number of pedestrians hit is also a small percentage.

          I see many more pedestrians crossing dangerously, of course.

          The point is simply that speed, per se, is not the issue - it's people who aren't obeying the existing laws. Obviously, the faster a car is going, the more damage it will do but if drives follow their rules and pedestrians follow theirs then it's not an issue.

          Further reducing the speed limit in that example is not addressing the core problem, just as trying to outlaw encrypted communications is not addressing the core problem (such as it is in the context).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh not again

          According to Transport for London more cars jump red lights than cyclists.

          Monday I saw a car jump a red, a car fail to stop when a pedestrian had stepped foot on a zebra crossing, another car about to fail to stop until gestured at, a car parked on double yellow, another car parked on double yellow partially obstructing the single lane middle of a city road, a car pull out and sit partially in a traffic box as there was traffic preventing them proceeding. This was all within a space of 20 minutes in a small town. Number of cyclists committing offences? 0.

          How many fatalities have there been where cyclists have killed pedestrians? How many for cars?

          The problem for both forms of transports are cockwombles who don't consider others, or even their own actions. The almost as large problem is those in cars not realising that the impact of them acting that way is significantly more severe than a cyclist as cyclists are going much slower and don't weigh in at over a tonne.

          1. Kevin Johnston

            Re: Oh not again

            An example from the UK.....

            it was made a specific offence to sit in the middle or right-hand lanes of a motorway or dual carriageway DESPITE this having been dealt with previously under existing legislation as 'driving without due care and attention'.

            Why was it seen as such a problem? Could be down to the shift from police patrolling in cars over to fixed cameras focussing on speeding. Yes, it earned a lot of money from speeding fines but it did bog-all for all the other bad driving which cameras are bloody useless at spotting.

            1. dan1980

              Re: Oh not again

              Please, let's leave the car-vs-cyclist argument aside . . . (It seems it's just as popular in London as in Sydney.)

              On my point, however, the NSW Police force did have a bit of a blitz about a year ago in the city, issuing fines for people crossing unsafely and apparently it had an immediate impact in reduced pedestrian injuries.

              That was great and is exactly the kind of thing we need - enforce the laws. Not every second of every day but enough so that people at least think twice. The problem there was that it was pretty much a one-off as I haven't seen them since. I'm sure there have been other areas similarly targetted but people have short memories and you need to keep reminding them.

              So here we had an operation that proved my point - if you actually enforce the laws, you get a result. But, sadly, the laws were enforced for a brief period only and then it was evidently considered too hard or a waste of police time so the alternative they chose was to drop the speed limit instead.

              This is the kind of thing that absolutely hacks me off - they HAVE a solution that works to achieve their stated goal and they KNOW it works. They crowed about how well it worked at the time. But, they decided on the easier option of just inconveniencing and penalising everyone instead.

              And, as Kevin implied, enforcing speed limits is just a few cameras away so it's always a preferred option rather than actually getting out there and making sure people being safe.

          2. d3vy

            Re: Oh not again

            +1 for cockwombles.

            That's a series I'd like to watch.

            1. dan1980

              Re: Oh not again

              On your android?

          3. DropBear Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Oh not again

            ...a car fail to stop when a pedestrian had stepped foot on a zebra crossing...

            The problem is pedestrians know full well they can step down and start crossing once a car is about a metre or so away form the crossing - they'll cross behind the passing car - and they have exactly zero interest in your concern that you might lose your license because they technically stepped off in front of you, even if no-one in their right mind would expect you to be able to stop that late. The plod still expects you to (naturally).

            This was all within a space of 20 minutes in a small town. Number of cyclists committing offences? 0

            The number of dickwad car drivers and cyclists together is dwarfed by at least an order of magnitude by the number of Darwin award nominee pedestrians who never even bother to look either way and simply just dart across a road with their eyes firmly lowered to the ground wherever and whenever they feel like it - older folks are doing this as their main form of locomotion, in my experience. Runner up prize for the retards who never quite understood that the fact that a car should always stop when you cross at a crossing does not mean you should not always personally check that they'll be actually able to do so if you step down right now.

            1. MJI Silver badge

              Re: Oh not again

              Pestrians

              Well I have hit two, both THEIR fault.

              One stepped off the kerb into the road, he got a sore arm from my mirror, was not looking, luckily I was going quite slow as the road was narrow.

              Next literally walked off the pavement and walked into the side of my car!

            2. FlatSpot

              Re: Oh not again

              Not so, I think someone needs to refer to the Highway Code;

              Rules for pedestrians

              Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery.

              Wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing.

              Remember that traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing.

              Keep looking both ways, and listening, in case a driver or rider has not seen you and attempts to overtake a vehicle that has stopped.

              Rules for Drivers

              Zebra crossings. As you approach a zebra crossing

              look out for pedestrians waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross

              you MUST give way when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing

              allow more time for stopping on wet or icy roads

              do not wave or use your horn to invite pedestrians across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching

              be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing.

              So you don't automatically lose your licence... what you can prove though is something different

              1. sabroni Silver badge
                Headmaster

                Re: stepped foot

                It's SET FOOT, FFS! Or stepped would also work.

        3. Semaj
          Trollface

          Re: Oh not again

          If you see a cyclist about to run a red light that you are about to cross and you are big enough - cross anyway. Chances are they'll come off much worse if they fall off. Unfortunately dickheads like that are usually just as bad in their Audi as on their bike though so it might just mean another bad driver on the road while they recover or get their bike fixed instead...

          Speaking of which - the most common red light running I see from drivers is at junctions where U-turns are forbidden. There's one in particular where I've nearly been ran over twice. All lights like that should have cameras fitted and automatic fines given out accordingly.

      2. HOW many?

        Re: Oh not again

        I'm starting to wonder if the real tradgedy might not be that the politicians *have* to behave so venally and roll-out ineffective 'sound-bite' solutions because, bluntly, most of the population is pig-shit thick (QED look at which TV shows get what ratings) and demand simplistic solutions. Which means the politicians dare not fail to pander to the mob's emotions - especially once 'the media' start whipping up hysteria about the 'threat' of (insert today's threat here) - Otherwise they'll crash and burn at the polls.

        For those politicians who are decent, genuine folk (there are SOME in all the parties) the dilemma then becomes, 'Do I trot out some unworkable platitudes about how to deal with today's latest witch hunt so I can maybe survive long enough to do something I think is good where it matters, or do I act morally now and get dragged down by the baying mob and in so doing let that unprincipled, self-serving gravy-trainer from the other party in to sell everything out for a ministerial car and a seat in the Lords'?

        Bugger innit?

    3. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Oh not again

      Making everyone sensible an outlaw means you will only have the halfwits and the dimwits left on your side

      Seeing as one could classify a large proportion of the electorate in that group* I think he'd be fine with that.

      * I don't actually think that they are "halfwits and... dimwits", but there is a large group, possibly even the majority of people, who won't notice the idiocy of this plan, won't listen to those who actually understand the problems, and will either just take the words of Dave as read, or will continue voting for "their party" as they always have done. I don't believe that the majority of voters study the policies of those they are voting for in detail or the real effects of them (sometimes because they just don't believe they'll do what they've said anyway, with good reason), and just take a punt based on their gut feeling.

    4. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: Oh not again

      The problem is that the electorate, largely, don't know, don't care, don't want to know.

      A fair slice won't understand the issue. Some won't even know what the word electorate means.

      Those of us that do need to educate those that don't.

      1. Waspy

        Re: Oh not again

        Have an upvote. This is exactly the issue - people just do not understand or care. As long as their ipads work ok IT is a boring, dry subject. And politicians all lie so I'll stay at home and ignore politics.

        You don't even need to be technically knowledgeable about the subject (what i know about cryptography you write on a stamp) but I understand the ethical and democratic issues around this whole sleight of hand and it terrifies me. I don't even believe anyone person or group is deliberately being 'evil' par se, I just think gchq et al are obsessed with getting their brief done (and ignoring all pesky issues on democracy), I think the politicians in power are clueless on both civil liberties/how computers work and the electorate, in the main, are even more clueless and apathetic. All of which doesn't change the eventual outcome regardless of anyone's intentions, sinister or otherwise...we are slowly sleepwalking away from the idea of a modern democratic state. Education is the key.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This isn't about instant messages

    It's about email and file storage

    My prediction is that this ban will spur a huge amount of interest and development into crypto enabled programs and more people than ever before will start to use encrypted comms on a day to day basis.

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: This isn't about instant messages

      Think I'll start a kickstarter project on invisible ink. They will never spot it ;-)

      1. phil dude
        Joke

        Re: This isn't about instant messages

        Didn't you know there's already one....;-)

        P.

      2. thomas k.

        Re: invisible ink

        But don't you think, when they steam open the envelope and find only a blank piece of paper inside, they'll get suspicious?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Pint

          Re: invisible ink

          Not really; you write the message on the envelope the actual letter is a dummy.

      3. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: This isn't about instant messages

        Don't you mean: invisible e-ink?

  9. Steven Raith

    This must be....

    ...what going mad feels like.

    Quite possibly one of the most inane and ill-informed proposals I've ever heard of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This must be....

      But this is typical politician thinking - try to ban it or control it.

    2. Yes Me Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: This must be....

      Well yes. RFC1984 was numbered 1984 for a reason.

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

    3. Simon Watson

      Re: This must be....

      Only slightly less insane than expecting ISPs to log all internet activity and keep the logs for at least a year. What idiot would suggest that. Theresa May wasn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This must be....

        Only slightly less insane than expecting ISPs to log all internet activity and keep the logs for at least a year. What idiot would suggest that. Theresa May wasn't it?

        No, I'm pretty sure you're referring to the Data Retention Directive, which was Brown's lot.

        Hard to tell them apart these days, innit?

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: This must be....

          Mycho, they're all idiots anyway.

          MP gets genius idea, and advisers, civil servants and their assistants aren't competent enough to say "What on Gods green earth are you talking about? That's unethical and technically near impossible. Do not say that in front of the cameras and don't try to implement it behind closed doors under any circumstances."

          Alas, there are too few people high enough up in the CS with tech chops to be able to say these things, and the ones with the knowledge either don't have the stones to say it, or aren't 'of the right sort' enough to get into a high enough position to have their objections taken seriously.

          The senior civil service needs a massive kick up the arse when it comes to technical knowledge - because there's fuck all in there right now where it matters.

          Steven R

    4. Steven Raith

      Re: This must be....

      Thinking about it, I think I see the real endgame, having been chatting in the office about this.

      Use of encrypted comms (VPN, TOR, anything non-trivial) where a judge deems it to be 'unnecessary' becomes a terrorist act.

      Encrypt your email? Boom, you're no longer a citizen of this country - no vote, no lawyer, no appeal.

      And it'll slip through parliament like a hot knife through fucking butter.

      Fucking sickening.

  10. Grikath

    The worst part of it is...

    That there's really no need for cyber-crypto if you want to be up to Nefarious Things....

    Which makes you wonder if amongst all the dredgers in the "national security business" there's actually people left who are aware of, and versed in, the various OldSkool methods.

  11. King Jack

    Prepare my jail cell

    I always thought that someday i'd go to jail. This could be the reason. I hope the UK Gov start a prison building program sharpish, as I see lots of new crims being in need of accommodation soon.

    Ike eppi nchi ngm yse lfbu tI ca nnotwa keup. <--- for Dave.

    1. Preston Munchensonton
      Coat

      Re: Prepare my jail cell

      Given the sheer volume of laws on the books in so-called "first-world" countries, there's not a soul alive that doesn't daily commit some crime punishable by death. I honestly just hope to reach the end of my days before things reach the point of throwing everyone in prison.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Prepare my jail cell

        "I honestly just hope to reach the end of my days before things reach the point of throwing everyone in prison."

        It's already illegal to leave the UK without permission. You can't just hop in your boat and cross the channel without notifying the "authorities".

  12. ratfox Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Die Gedanke sind frei…

    The government has not demanded to be allowed to search our minds and read our every thoughts.

    The question is, is this because they don't think they should be allowed? Or is it merely because such a thing is not possible — yet?

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

      These scum sold off telephony, gas, electricity, water (water, FFS...!), all things that we taxpayers had spent years building up through investing our taxes, and they would gladly sell us air if they could work out a way of doing it.

      1. Ogi

        Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

        <quote>they would gladly sell us air if they could work out a way of doing it.</quote>

        Don't stop holding your breath just yet. Take a look at carbon credits. They don't sell you the air you breathe in, but they will charge you for the CO2 you expel out ;)

        </joke, for the moment at least. Human expelling co2 is not part the carbon charge, but who knows what the future holds. They just need to get their foot in the door first...>

      2. Graham Marsden
        Big Brother

        Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

        Oh, but Call me David is quite supportive of Freedom of Thought...

        ... Provided you're only thinking things that he approves of, that is.

        No Thought Crime, No Crime Think? Double-plus good, proles!

      3. Fluffy Bunny
        Devil

        Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

        "they would gladly sell us air if they could work out a way of doing it" - Australia had a carbon tax until the new Govt chucked the idiots out.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Coat

        Re: Die Gedanken sind frei…

        Poll taxanyone?

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Die Gedanke sind frei…

      third option: they don't want to draw attention to the deal they have with Google for people's search history, that effectively allows them access to 90% of minds 90% of the time.

    3. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Die Gedanke sind frei…

      Oh, you mean http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jan/13/your-computer-knows-you-researchers-cambridge-stanford-university ?

  13. linicks

    What do UK and Iran have in common?

    The only two Countries in the world that have unelected religious people making decisions in Government.

    1. Vector

      Re: What do UK and Iran have in common?

      Apparently, you missed the Reagan and W-Bush years in the US.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: What do UK and Iran have in common?

        Also missed out Australia, where a single MP was able to push through his own pet lunacies in exchange for supporting the government in pushing through theirs

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          Re: What do UK and Iran have in common?

          like in Israel?

    2. herman Silver badge

      Re: What do UK and Iran have in common?

      No, there are quite a few more countries like that, e.g. the Vatican and Saudi Arabia to name two of the best known.

  14. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    IIRC ...

    This was tried years ago by a US politician famous for adapting Arthur Scargill's speeches. The result was some steganography software that disguised encrypted messages as text in the style of Arthur Scargill's speeches. (web searches are not giving me relevant links, so I might have misremembered whose speeches were copied.)

    "The first duty of any government is to keep our country and our people safe."

    The biggest danger to any government is not a guy in the desert with an AK47. It is a citizen with a vote. An AK47 with no ammo is reasonably safe. To make a person safe, a government has to take away his vote. The government can already do this on four easy steps.

    1) Take the voter's computer.

    2) Pick some files, and claim they contain steganographically hidden encrypted data.

    3) Require the person to decrypt the files.

    4) Send the voter to prison for being unable to decrypt a file that did not contain steganographically hidden encrypted data.

    Prisoners do not get to vote. If you want to keep your right to vote, go through every picture, video and document you ever created, and replace them with new versions that have the following steganographically hidden encrypted text:

    Cameron double plus good duckspeaker. Love big brother. Joycamp unneeded.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IIRC ...

      Even stego's got limits...

      "This was tried years ago by a US politician famous for adapting Arthur Scargill's speeches. The result was some steganography software that disguised encrypted messages as text in the style of Arthur Scargill's speeches."

      If sent through a text sanitizer that enforced strict spacing, removing all excessive whitespace and perhaps auto-correcting typos and replacing odd international characters, I don't think any text stego would survive.

      "The biggest danger to any government is not a guy in the desert with an AK47. It is a citizen with a vote. An AK47 with no ammo is reasonably safe."

      Except it makes an acceptable club as well, No ammo necessary. Or perhaps even a bat for chucking rocks...

      As for the citizen with the vote, all any REAL power monger has to do is usurp and render all the laws in the world mere ink on a page.

  15. Lyndon Hills 1

    Hmm

    And there was us making sure all hard drives / usb sticks etc are encrypted, so as not to fall foul of data protection laws!

    It's already an offence not to decrypt material or provide keys if requested by the various law enforcement agencies. If the home secretary is going to sign off on a warrant anyway, why not just use this route? I guess the difference would be that you'd know you were being spied on then.

    Still the 'number one government priority is to keep people safe'. If necessary by ensuring that we have no e-commerce to speak of, are the nation most likely to suffer from id-fraud, and live in a state reminiscent of East Germany under the Stasi.

    1. kmac499

      Re: Hmm

      "Still the 'number one government priority is to keep people safe'."

      Yeah that's what they keeping saying and claiming more and more powers to miaintain this fiction. Why? because <insert deity name here> Forbid, once an outrage has happened, the politicians will be shown to be impotent, something they are really terrified of.

      My opinion is the first job of government is keep the lights on and the toilets emptied. Sounds trivial but try living in a world with neither of those.

  16. Graham Cobb

    It's about "safe spaces"

    Apparently Cameron has said he will not allow "safe spaces" for people to communicate with each other without monitoring. So, where do I go to talk to my friend about how we are going to vote? Where do I go to talk to my MP about raising a government abuse in parliament? Where do I go to talk to my lawyer? Apparently all those conversations should be monitored.

    Maybe we should ask him where he plans to go to talk to his friends in the City about his directorship for when he stops being PM? Where will he go to discuss secret trade treaties?

    Fortunately, in this case, he is being completely stupid and nothing can come of it. Presumably, however, he is saying this so he can later present the real proposals as "we listened to the objections and have reduced our demands" - back to the original snooper's charter proposals.

  17. Number6

    Already Broken?

    So if TLS is allowed, presumably they can already read it so we'll be allowed to continue.

    All it needs is for all mail servers outside the UK to be reconfigured to insist on secure comms or fail and suddenly a lot of the UK's important business will dry up or revert back to fax machines.

    And what about my Android phone, on which I've enabled encryption so even if PC Plod confiscates it, he still won't be able to read it without my knowledge?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Already Broken?

      By the way, I monitor which mail servers that send me email are using TLS to do so. Most of the big providers now use TLS but BT do not! It would be nice if they joined in -- after all this is BT so presumably there is a big fat pipe with copies of all email they handle being sent directly to GCHQ anyway. But it might be nice if Johnny Foreigner couldn't read email from BT Internet users.

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    E-commerce in plaintext - I can see that working well

    Instead, what he probably means is he wants the power to read unencrypted data at rest held by providers (e-mail/IM/website/ISP/etc) via a government login used by government departments and a robot Theresa May feriously rubber stamping a pile of paper 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. End-to-end encryption banned, everything must be held in plaintext by the provider, GPG etc... text blocks automatically rejected.

    Just so this isn't the UK pissing in the wind it might become a condition of trade within the EU and maybe the US/Canada/Aus/NZ. I think the UK are chairing some EU-wide security committee round about now and there's always TTIP for the English speaking world.

    Must adjust my tinfoil hat.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gordon Brown style bait and switch?

    Plus a dog whistle message along the lines of "Hey, WhatsApp, nice business you've got there. Pity if something were to happen to it".

  20. lucki bstard
    Joke

    Won't someone think of the children!

    They are just thinking of the children...

    This will kill of Snapchat

    Seriously:

    Despite all their money NSA/GCHQ etc still couldn't organize a piss-up in a brewery, some how I don't think this won't help.

  21. I don't have a handle

    Key escrow revisited?

    DC passed reference to previous governments aborted attempts to curtail personal encryption. I read this as a reference to Labour's diabolical key escrow shite from the 90's. Maybe we'll be seeing an attempt to get shite like this through Parliament again soon?

    1. janimal

      Re: Key escrow revisited?

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      I suppose it is naive not to expect successive governments to repeatedly attempt the same thing.

      This is basically a battle that will repeat itself until the snoopers win or our civilisation ends :(

  22. Little boy down the lane

    Surely...

    ...Cameron is only talking about services that do not make the comms metadata available to the spooks. The actual content will remain encrypted.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Surely...

      Mr Cameron said the government had acted to safeguard powers for so-called communications data, which refers to the details of when and how people have contacted each other but not the content of messages.

      He went on to say he would also legislate in the "more contentious" area of the content of these online communications.

      There should be no "means of communication" which "we cannot read", he said.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30778424

    2. I don't have a handle

      Re: Surely...

      He's on about both metadata and content. Quote: "...the powers that I believe we need, whether on communications data, or on the content of communications, I'm very comfortable that those are absolutely right for a modern, liberal democracy.

      He then waffles on about revisiting DRIP if he gets re-elected.

  23. moiety

    Fuck you Dave, you moon-faced twat.

    That was the short answer...the slightly longer one:

    No SSL = no internet trading (or a *MASSIVE* increase in losses by MITM attacks, take your pick).

    No encrypted storage = no country in the world will do business with the UK as it would be breaking their data protection laws.

    No encryption = no banking.

    If he's pledged that if he gets in then the answer is simple...he doesn't get in. He has just proved himself incompetent to have any say in anything relating to IT.

    1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

      Upvoted for creative use of profanity....damn it that's us both on 'the list' now.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      "Fuck you Dave, you moon-faced twat."

      Nicely done, though my personal favourite remains "gammon-faced cockwomble"

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Problem is I look at Millibland just no, who will replace Clegg?, Farage does he have policies?, Greens no effing way.

        So now there is no place to vote my constituency doesn't even have Libdems stand, usually a battle between Lab and Con. Our Green PPC is a twat.

        And there is no none of the above.

        I think I WILL write to my MP about his ignorant boss, and say he needs educating.

        1. Wild Bill

          Really no effing way for the Greens? They seem to me to be the only ones talking any sense at the moment

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Green fails for me

            1) Anti nuclear power

            2) Scrapping HS2

            3) Anti nuclear power

            4) Reversal of academy system (seems to work well for my twins)

            5) Welfare cap removal, sorry but unemployed people getting over £30,000 in year in benefits is taking the piss

            6) Too much into state ownership

            1. moiety

              Dave is a terrorist, and should be locked up forthwith.

              You'll like this....the Terrorism Act 2000 defines a terrorist as:

              1 Terrorism: interpretation.

              (1) In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—

              (a) the action falls within subsection (2),

              (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government [F1or an international governmental organisation]F1 or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

              (c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious [F2, racial]F2 or ideological cause.

              (2) Action falls within this subsection if it—

              (a) involves serious violence against a person,

              (b) involves serious damage to property,

              (c) endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

              (d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

              (e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

              So Dave is a terrorist by all 3 definitions in section 1; and 3 out of 5 of the section 2 definitions.

              1. tfewster Silver badge

                Re: Dave is a terrorist, and should be locked up forthwith.

                Beautiful. I'm sooooo tempted to rent a botnet to upvote this a few thousand times.

  24. Steve Evans

    Let them lead by example...

    Once I see HM gov and all it's tendrils stop using encryption, I will follow.

    (The taxi laptops are not enough proof, sorry)

  25. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Point or order doodz!

    Like Dave, Tony, George, Angela, ... woke up one morning and thought to himself/herself "today is a fine day to do even more eavesdropping, snooping spying on humankind."

    Sure they do sign the orders but mostly these days the power resides with grey suits - usually unaccountable to the public, unknown to the public grey suits with elected leaders merely rubberstamping something that they really don't understand that well at all.

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Point or order doodz!

      Adams wasn't wrong (paraprrase:) A [politician]'s job isn't to weild power, but to draw attention away from it.

      1. RhetoricComment

        Re: Point or order doodz!

        "Re: Point or order doodz!

        Adams wasn't wrong (paraprrase:) A [politician]'s job isn't to weild power, but to draw attention away from it."

        Have an upvote and my name to "the list"

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Point or order doodz!

      I have noticed that, NONE of the current UK party leaders understand IT at all.

      Look at them, wrong Dave (prefered Davies), wrong Millibland (Dave was better, but there are many better choices), wrong Libdem (bring back Kennedy), Fartage (I just do not trust him, nor his party unfortunately), Greens (who even leads them but their policies are not workable).

      Are this shower really the best we can choose from to run the country?

      I actually like my MP, likeable and does his job, but blacklisted for rebelling so no hope of being a minister. Lets just say I like rebels.

      The last PM I thought worthy of the job was John Major, incidentally the last Grammar school PM before the Public school takeover.

      Simple personallity flaws should not be a barrier, Kennedy lost his job due to drinking, but does it matter?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Let them lead by example...

    How long before you are asked to turn on your laptop/Itoy/etc at UK airports, ferry terminals and provide login and/or decryption keys?

    Its bad enough flying as it is, when 10mm of snow can bring an entire airport to a grinding halt.

  27. Anon5000
    Thumb Down

    Encrypt Everything

    Cameron is talking as if they have some pre-conceived right to view our private conversations. They don't!

    I would rather the very small chance of being shot or blown up than to live in a totalitarian state where everything I say to someone else is added to a database where computers decide if I am potentially against the government or whatever,

    The spooks are not worried about SSL as they can easily do man-in-the-middle attacks (some mobile carriers do this just to reduce network load) but they are having issues with the better encryption. Snapchat fixed an issue with symmetric keys which closed one hole and WhatsApp had proper advice from the guys who brought us TextSecure and RedPhone, meaning they are fairly robust in the encryption area.

    TIme to start using encryption even when it's not needed, just to show disdain for the snooping laws.

  28. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Jesus frickin' Christ!!

    So the PM of Great Britain wants to restrict the use of encryption? What exactly is he then going to do about securing the online financial affairs and communications of British citizens? It MIGHT be feasible to ban or water down encryption if the British Government could A) consistently defeat cyber-crime and voyeurism targeted at British citizens and business an B) be trusted to use their own power to decrypt at will responsibly. However, they are definitely failing on A) and the signs that they can execute on B) are really unpromising.

    Only a small portion of encryption performed in the world is used as a tool for terrorists and organized criminals to shelter the plans of their next atrocity. It protects the communications and property of British people, companies, NGOs and governments--in short, the entire British society. If you compromise encryption without solidly addressing internet security on some other front, then you are setting up the British people as digital lambs for the cyber-slaughter.

  29. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Look on the bright side

    No DRM in streaming. No DRM on Blueray. All TV free to air....

  30. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Imagine the future

    Molluscs in suits taking the mike, wanting to ban encryption, forever.

    I'm sure Freud would have something to say about the fact the a massacre abroad immediately leads, psychotically and reflex-like, to sadly predictable behaviour which is not only linked to fear of violence but also to fear of sexual activity that is not under control of the patient.

    Meanwhile: "HEY AZIZ, HALAL GOODIES WILL ARRIVE AT THE SOUTHERN PORT AT ARBITRARY TIME TODAY, BY THE BEARD OF THE PROPHET THE DING WILL DONG."

  31. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Privileged communication ?

    So, emails between lawyers and clients must be made available to the state ?

    Oh, hang on - THEY ALREADY HAVE TO.

    You lost your privacy years ago - and no one (well very few) even noticed.

    don't believe me ?

    link

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Horrifying

    And I mean that sincerely.

    Whether or not it is practicable, the PM has clearly stated that the government intends to outlaw the use of encryption by British citizens.

    That is such a monumental attack on our liberties that I think this speech and the name Cameron might live on in infamy.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: Horrifying

      On the bright side, if this goes through maybe David Cameron will live on as a verb or adjective.

      Cameron (English, early 21st century, Pr. Kam-ur-un)

      1. To create noticeable damage through ignorance. (Usage: Jack really cameroned his British electric razor when he tried to plug it into a U.S. power outlet without using an adapter.)

      2. Indicative of an authoritarian or oppressive outlook or nature (Usage: The police went full cameron, pulled out their batons and started beating protestors.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Horrifying

        A small bright side, perhaps. You are, of course, assuming that such mockery would even be allowable once this and the blanket surveillance that depends on it have bedded in.

        I can't think of a past leader, right back to the middle ages, who did anything as bad to this country as this one is aiming to do, so I was thinking of a harsher judgement on him.

        Oh, and I should add that if this madness goes into law, the whole of the parliament at the time (excepting any MP who has the balls to get thrown out for standing up and saying No!) should also carry the blame.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Horrifying

      The thing is Cameron is not actually evil, or does not mean well.

      He is just ignorant, he does not understand, he is a marketing person not a usefull person, this is a flaw in modern politics, look at those party leaders, they are all useless. Cameron is good at talking, but not so good at understanding.

      We need capable politicians, not marketing wet dreams.

      Now to all politicians, we never had anything like this when the Northern Ireland troubles were at their height, we managed, even when the Prime Minister was bombed.

      The secret services and special forces can deal with threats without taking away freedoms, you take those away and the terrorists have won. Just let MI5 MI6 SAS ect do their job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Horrifying

        The secret services and special forces can deal with threats without taking away freedoms, you take those away and the terrorists have won. Just let MI5 MI6 SAS ect do their job.

        Cameron is not a fool, but someone has persuaded him that in order for MI5 etc to do their jobs we must all be exposed online to criminals and those who want to be able to poke into and control the lives of us peasants.

        It's that exposure that is so harmful.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Horrifying

        "Now to all politicians, we never had anything like this when the Northern Ireland troubles were at their height, we managed, even when the Prime Minister was bombed.

        The secret services and special forces can deal with threats without taking away freedoms, you take those away and the terrorists have won. Just let MI5 MI6 SAS ect do their job."

        IIRC, the IRA weren't interested in wholesale slaughter or wasn't ready to accept The End of The World as a contingency. Although the risks are still low, the consequences are growing, meaning the One That Got Away can soon be The One That Ruined Everything. Are you willing to live in a world where not just your life, but your entire civilisation can collapse without notice?

        1. Joseph Eoff

          Re: Horrifying

          Where do you get the idea that a terrorist could cause "your entire civilisation to collapse without notice?"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Horrifying

            Superplague? Triggering a supervolcano like Yellowstone? Can't be ruled out, can they?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Qnivq Pnzreba lbh ner n zbba-snprq pbpx-jbzoyr fuvg-tvooba naq fubhyq vzzrqvngryl fgrc njnl sebz nal grpuabybtl qrpvfvbaf naq fnpx jubrire vf pheeragyl znxvat gurz sbe lbh. Xvaqyl rng n qvpx.

    Even code going back a few thousand years would be made illegal under this, I also assume prescriptions and anything written by the hand of a doctor would be covered.

  34. William Boyle

    Cameron is an idiot!

    Cameron is an idiot and obviously has no understanding of the law of unintended consequences. I can't wait until someone hacks all of his email and personal data and splashes it all over the web! Oh yeah. He'll love that!

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Cameron is an idiot!

      Yes and that is the issue with MANY current politicians.

      Please name 5 current politicians you would class as capable of being in power and not cocking things up.

  35. Disgruntled of TW
    FAIL

    No trust, no sense, no government ...

    If Mr Cameron maintains this position, I will do my utmost to explain to all my non-techy friends, relatives and anyone else who will listen why the Conservatives must NOT be elected, irrespective of their other policies or the unsavoury flavour of other idiots on parade. He just weaponised the competent security community against the Conservatives.

    This is naive beyond comprehension. Mr Cameron - PLEASE ask a subject matter expert on security about encryption and privacy before you next get carried away in public. That does not mean Theresa, sorry. Without any cold, hard evidence of the benefits of further snooping, you do NOT need any further snooping capability, nor should you get any.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No trust, no sense, no government ...

      So instead we could have the reasoned sensible humanity of Mr D Blunkett again ?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: No trust, no sense, no government ...

        I had managed to forget about him the bloody control freak.

        I really suggest writing to your MP in words they understand why Dave is a cardboard box.

  36. WatAWorld

    Politicians will come into power completely at the mercy of the police and secret police.

    The percentage of the peaceful population being spied upon, no matter which government is in power when it is increased, will end democracy.

    The reason it will end democracy is that it will cause intelligence agencies to have huge banks of information on the childhood and teenage years of future politicians.

    Future politicians will come into power completely at the mercy of the police and secret police, completely under the thumb of police and secret police.

    Judging by how government politicians in the USA, UK and Canada act towards intelligence agencies and police, we may already be there and just the rest of us don't realize it yet.

    Spying on the peaceful public is an issue on the totalitarian/libertarian political axis.

    Spying is on the peaceful public is not a left-wing/right-wing issue. Stalinist, Maoist and Marxist Communists do it. Nationalist socialists did it. Absolute monarchies do it.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Politicians will come into power completely at the mercy of the police and secret police.

      Spying is on the peaceful public is not a left-wing/right-wing issue. Stalinist, Maoist and Marxist Communists do it. Nationalist socialists did it. Absolute monarchies do it.

      I keep coming to the fact I am more libertarian but also centre right, I detest totalitarianism, that takes precident over economics.

      I was beginning to think an absolute monarchy is a possible answer, but then her son can be a bit odd.

      But then she can block things if she really insisted, perhaps we do need to go to the top?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Politicians will come into power completely at the mercy of the police and secret police.

        "But then she can block things if she really insisted, perhaps we do need to go to the top?"

        I was thinking the same thing. After all, it is 'Her' Majesty's Government.

        We might want to lay off on the technical terms though - perhaps we can make some kind of Corgi/Shooting analogy to get the point across?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this straight. We have a business that includes an app that lets businesses exchange messages and documents securely. these are all encrypted with aes 256 and we don't hold or store the keys.

    What are we supposed to do? Just not allow the service in the first place? Force our users to hand over their keys?

    dumb.

  38. Benito

    Is it ironic that law enforcement is campaigning for encrypted communications to be more easily intercepted, while the criminal gangs who support terrorism are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of more easily interceptable communications?

  39. Chris Sake

    Back to using classified advertisements or the radio then

    Andromaque se parfume à la lavande.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Back to using classified advertisements or the radio then

      I think you will find that using foreign languages will also be banned under the new legislation.

      How are the police supposed to protect us from communist, file-sharing, pedophile, terrorists if they don't speak English?

  40. Adam 1 Silver badge

    Already happening I'm afraid. Some well known technical news sites based in the UK don't even use https in their comments section.

    1. Anon5000

      El reg appears to be the only site I frequent that allows logins that does not have https. Yay for backwards technology site.

      Actually feel dirty logging in here naked. Time to finally get this sorted Reg!

  41. Dieter Haussmann

    It would be easier to deport or disappear all of these known terrorist sympathisers.

    They are always 'known' to security forces at best, patsies at worst.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      re: known terrorist sympathisers.

      We tried that once, the people we interned without trial are now our loyal (if not loyalist) partners in a new peace accord.

      Good job we didn't gas them - that would have been embarrassing.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    History repeats itself with increasing regularity

    Just as Blair was blackmailed influenced into going to war now the powers* in control of the NSA have shown Cameron those naughty embarrassing pics** from his school days.

    This has nothing to do with terrorism, it's about industrial espionage, power, control of individuals and ultimately obscene amounts of money.

    *your guess is as good as mine

    **most likely the second batch

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: History repeats itself with increasing regularity

      Is that the one of him being spanked by Bo Jo?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: History repeats itself with increasing regularity

        No, Boris would have used them as posters in his mayoral campaign

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, and they must remember to ban people from inventing secret alphabets, writing in code and using invisible ink.

    1. itzman
      Black Helicopters

      ...and never mind the ...

      SECRET HANDSHAKE.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shhhh.... Can you here it?

    Nope. Must be the silence of David Cameron making no trace of any attempt whatsoever to explain how these measures would have stopped the Paris terror attacks.....

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good luck...

    ...my encrypted email is in Switzerland.

    Sorry forgot my password, but no worry I'll get a password reset sent to me...Ooops what was that? Oh sill me, resetting my password just wiped the entire contents...silly me.

    Still waiting for the FU icon.

  46. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Corporate Sponsors

    I can't see the Tories' friends in big business being happy about not being able to protect their trade secrets with encryption.

    On the other hand, I can see the Tories' friends in the US government being very happy about being able to conduct industrial espionage at will.

  47. krivine

    LMFTFY

    s/(What do) UK (and Iran have in common?)/$1 Cameron $2/

    That's better!

  48. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Many years ago experts warned

    if the spooks get too clever with bypassing encryption then the bad guys -certainly them muslamic terrorists - will revert to faxing each other handwritten pages of Arabic.

    In code.

    Incidentally, as an aside, do the readers of El Reg think it would be possible to plan something without using electronics ?

    Personal Ads in printed magazines.

    Handwritten replies to P.O. Boxes.

    would be enough to initiate contact. Then have established an offline connection, the bad guys could use it to establish an anonymous online connection - say ads posted on Craigslist in cipher, and replied posted on Gumtree in cipher. All of which can be done openly, under the noses of MIx

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Many years ago experts warned

      How about anonymous postings of PGP encrypted messages onto Usenet. Job done.

      I know that's electronic, but it's an absurdly simple way to bypass any encryption restrictions (until they ban the use of computers completely).

  49. nethack47

    What about the Data Protection Act and the FCA

    The DPA mentions encryption quite often which means we will be in breach of either this regulatory law or whatever law the government decides to bring in forcing us to not protect the sensitive data.

    Cameron is probably thinking we can have a completely separate consumer and enterprise device ecosystem and that no terrorist will use a business or rooting to get access to encryption.

    I don't see what good this will do when the current regulation already lets the state lock you up until you give up your encryption keys.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if the Conservatives win the next election

    while the Labour strongly oppose such moves - until they win the next election when they will introduce it anyway, because they can. And the Liberal Democrats condemn the "increasingly oppressive forms of surveillance state" and "cautiously consider all options" on alternative press releases, because they know nobody cares what they say, they aren't gonna win the next elections anyway.

    1. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: while the Labour strongly oppose

      Good thinking, but flawed right from the start. Milipede rarely knows what time of day it is, let alone think about a rational response to a problem like this.

  51. JimmyPage Silver badge

    Will they ban notes in newsagents windows too ?

    Browsing in a London suburb recently, and 90% of the notes were in non-Latin script. Except for the odd number.

    They might be saying "for sale, fridge freezer, needs cleaning"

    or, they could be saying

    "Drop the goods round the back, and knock twice"

  52. Billa Bong

    Yes, but what does Steven Fry have to say on the subject?

    Clearly we need his IT-Oracle-like guidance here...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Meh

      Re: Yes, but what does Steven Fry have to say on the subject?

      Most likely that encryption is where you add a password to a file.

  53. Afernie
    Facepalm

    This must contradict dozens of UK laws

    Principle 7 of the Data Protection Act:

    "Appropriate *technical* and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data."

    Congratulations Dave - every single government department, every bank, every NHS department, every company would commit an offence under your proposed legislation. I'd be first in line to press the charges and serve the lawsuits - I think naming you in a class action would be reasonable. Unless you plan to repeal the Data Protection Act and legislation on patient confidentiality?

    And laws aside, what about PCI-DSS Control Objective - Protect Cardholder Data:

    3. Protect stored cardholder data

    4. Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks"

    So it would be reasonable for the payment cards industry to allow no credit and debit cards for anyone in Britain, ever again.

    That's the first couple of several hundred implications I can think of.

  54. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Surprised how many people point out the laws this would break

    the government will just change those laws too.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Surprised how many people point out the laws this would break

      But many of them have international agreements attached to them if not outright treaties. Those CAN'T be changed without international repercussions. For example, if England wants to access records in a country where the data MUST be encrypted in order to be exported, they're stuck.

  55. batfastad

    We do not negotiate with terrorists

    No, we just bend over. And over time, we become them.

    I'll leave my front door open, take all my money in a bag to the treasury and collect my new national workslave number and uniform.

    "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."

    1. batfastad

      Re: We do not negotiate with terrorists

      Also I presume our employees, the chubby blazer-wearing eunuchs in parliament, will still be protected by the Wilson Doctrine? Lucky lucky them who make the rules.

      It would be preferable if my communications were public to all nations, not restricted to a particular host state that has legal jurisdiction over me.

      Our only hope is that the concepts of nation states, national governments and border restrictions continue to become increasingly irrelevant over the next century. Unrestricted movement of people, money and information throughout the world. Sound good?

  56. Smooth Newt
    Facepalm

    Cameron's analogy with letters is broken

    Whilst the Government can read postal letters in transit with a warrant, it is just a convenience for the sender and receiver that the content isn't usually encrypted.

  57. Riku

    Debenhams porn

    The missus was little amused while shopping for shapewear (Spanx and such, hardly pornographic to either gender) via Debenhams online to find that EE flagged the womens underwear pages as "adult content" and blocked them. Curiously House of Fraser was not blocked. Guess who got the sale?

    Aren't ill-thought blunt instruments wonderful?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Debenhams porn

      Aha caught you. I bet they sell AA bra sizes in Debenhams and no woman can possibly have that size, so you MUST be a Pedo!

  58. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Vote

    While you still can.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We ban the export of high performing computers and strong encryption to oppressive regimes yet are going to ban it here too?

    What does that tell you about our own "oppressive" regime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      No we don't....Saudi get's plenty of our gear.

  60. Sirius Lee

    Genie, hop in the bottle please

    No, in the bottle. The bottle. Yes, in you go. Oh, come on, just get in the bottle.

  61. W T Riker

    due process and the law

    Why should a politically motivated person who is at most in office for 5 years be able to sign-off anything to do with accessing personal information. There is a current process that involves a Judge and the Police Authorities convincing the Judge that the reason is valid. The Judge can then ensure that the correct judicial processes are carried out and that human rights are maintained.

    1. paulc

      Re: due process and the law

      they have "pet" judges who will sign off on anything put in front of them... they've been compromised by means of recording their internet browsing habits etc.

  62. paulc

    Speedbump?

    "because each spying order would have to be personally signed off by the Home Secretary, Theresa May."

    nah, they have robosigning machines these days, just sign anything put in front of them, called politicians...

  63. Jim 59

    To be fair, Call Me Dave has not said TLS is to be banned, merely that the government will break into it on occasion when the home secretary has given personal permission. He says this was always legal with snail-mail, and he sort of has a point there. I am not agreeing with his policy though.

    A much better weapon against ISIS, boko-haram et al would be to simply stop reporting their murders in such a massive way. This is exactly what they want. Instead of showing their dismal snuff movies in page 1, just put a small story on page 4 - "Man Murdered", in the same way a normal murder would be reported. By amplifying the terrorist actions, the media are in a way enabling the terrorism and rewarding those who indulge in it.

    1. I don't have a handle

      "To be fair, Call Me Dave has not said TLS is to be banned, merely that the government will break into it on occasion when the home secretary has given personal permission"

      ISTM that government agencies are already doing this, with or without the permission of the Home Secretary.

      To my mind, this is, to some extent, more about access (or a right of access), to private keys. Quite what shape this discussion may take, should the Tories be re-elected, is uncertain - but personally I have a feeling that access to, and perhaps distribution of (or control of), keys within certain boundaries will hold a degree of focus within any such future discussion(s).

      Until we know more about his dastardly plan, we'll just have to live content with the knowledge that number theorists, along with anyone with a desire to make use of prime numbers, will probably be labelled, vilified and persecuted as paedo-terrorists by god's 'right-hand man'*.

      *Reference to Dave's Easter 2014 bash, where he said, "I'm just continuing God's work". (Alternatively, just read as 'wanker' - either works).

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "A much better weapon against ISIS, boko-haram et al would be to simply stop reporting their murders in such a massive way."

      If you try to ignore them, they'll just up the volume until you can't ignore them anymore (because the risk becomes destabilizing or existential), such as the Westgate attack in Nairobi or 9/11. IOW, it's hard to silence an enemy who's playing no holds barred.

  64. Matt 94

    Terrorists won't use encryption because it's against the law?

    Terrorist 1: let's encrypt all our communications, then they'll never no what we're planning

    Terrorist 2: but it's against the law!

    Terrorist 1: oh, ok...

  65. Chika

    Hmm... It's 31 years late, but Big Brother Dave is out to get us, it seems. I'll have to go look at this TOR thingy; that's supposed to have been designed for accessing the internet from oppressive regimes, isn't it? ;)

  66. Flywheel Silver badge

    So assuming that Dave and chums get their way and backdoors are introduced into software, what's to stop them altering traffic as well?

    Of course that wouldn't be ethical, but it would mean they could stitch someone up with relative ease, and "bring them in for a little chat".

  67. Greg D

    I would....

    ...MUCH rather risk the infinitesimal chance of being blown up in a terrorist attack than have all my conversations monitored.

    This is too ridiculous to even imagine it could pass through. Another case of politician doesn't get IT.

  68. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
    Coat

    I know nobody will read after 3rd page of comments ...

    .... but the statistic on the number of comments matter as well.

    Anyway here goes - this is so bloody stupid that words fail me.

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: I know nobody will read after 3rd page of comments ...

      ".... but the statistic on the number of comments matter as well."

      I'll add a "Me too" just to get the number of comments up. Hopefully no-one will be annoyed by the AOL-ish contentless post.

      "this is so bloody stupid that words fail me".

      Again, me too. My gast is so flabbered, I can't even be bothered mocking Cameron.

      Icon, for Cameron

  69. Britt Johnston
    Flame

    Fahrenheit 451

    We should be able to get away with suggesting that the best approach is to burn down the internet.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Fahrenheit 451

      Perhaps burning down the government would be a better use of the fire... whos that at the door? no no not the black bag over the head I dont want the comfy chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrr

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "... I dont want the comfy chaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrr"

        Silly, silly, silly Boris.

        We were on our way before you finished depressing "Submit".

        You should have realised that we are always watching. We always will be watching.

        Be seeing you :)

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shit!

    He really IS that stupid.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Party first

    "The first duty of any government is to keep our country majority and our people illiberal reputation safe."

    Fixed.

    The only scant bit of comfort is that, lobby fodder aside, he's declaring war on some of the more awkward and persistent members of his own backbenches, and that at a time when any majority he might dream of will be sliced razor thin by the 'kippers.

    Not that it'll help, since the other shower will doubtless ride to the rescue.

  72. DLKirkwood
    FAIL

    Here’s an Idea

    Do away with encryption is the silliest thing I have heard. I must agree. How about another silly idea that is more thoughtful?

    We can pretend to do away with encryption (to catch terrorist), then instill a code system to protect the good guys privacy. How about the Navajo Code Talk system? It worked for WWII to defeat the Germans. (TIC)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here’s an Idea

      The Germans were using code, too. Remember ENIGMA? Thing is, I think the matter of the Navajo code talkers was less a matter of it being unbreakable than it was that the Germans simply ran out of time. Almost ANY code can be figured out if you put enough resources into it, and human-based codes probably aren't the most sophisticated, plus you can always get an insider.

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