back to article UK govt: No, really, we're not banning cryptography

The UK government has restated it has no desire to ban strong encryption, nor will it require surreptitious access to communications, in a response to several accusations levelled against it. In a response to a parliament.uk petition with over 10,000 signatures, the Home Office repeated that it "is not seeking to ban or limit …

  1. phil dude
    WTF?

    political lies...

    And yet, you can be compelled to give them your password - or they lock you up forever...

    "No we're not banning cryptography..."

    But we'll make your life a living hell if we want to.

    P.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: political lies...

      they don't lock you up forever, but they do fuck you up forever. I mean, with conviction and time behind bars for refusing to hand over / forgetting this or that password, you are doomed for life. Think employment, credit rating and, frankly, I wouldn't put it past our services to "monitor" your online activities in closer deail, probably forever.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: political lies...

        Actually, from what I've heard, they can lock you up forever.

        They ask for the password, you refuse, they lock you up for 5(?) years. When you are released, they ask for the password again...

  2. theOtherJT

    Exercise in futility.

    I'm going to keep posting my responses like this every time they talk about intercepting terrorist communications.

    -----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----

    Version: GnuPG v1

    jA0EAwMCSYY6dO55cipgycAm5ZhaJhKgu95a6M6d9zaUfo6sQaPQGKlFN8Wg9LOG

    U9J6TmvO6bW9P/qCreAa4PlUusF1LoSLpaDzp1vxd854QgsIyPG9dAzttUyViZqv

    Fw+RX2rAUROQzeSuLpSpk78Qh9ArzB8bDFhf/suyvJu4kphpzWYr8wIds9hj/Y9v

    LnypIEXe2vBD6iXB9/1jZ+ZLVt4vNXEqb+qWj+OVLFyKsoAoHteoQ620Aq6kAhlJ

    9Ds+5QDUKJL39uLlLlmegIRtsnLJ/2XzaBSE+XDKWSL6Z9k4bgTHK1S07hG33ehS

    PSYi5EH5Fow=

    =QIrZ

    -----END PGP MESSAGE-----

    Key: thisremainspossible

    1. PleebSmasher
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Exercise in futility.

      Hard mode: Don't post the key, and see if GCHQ leaves you a reply.

    2. Evan Essence

      Re: Exercise in futility.

      Indeed.

      BTW, a couple of typos: should be encrypted and nefarious.

  3. nematoad Silver badge
    FAIL

    Trust?

    "...where it is necessary and proportionate."

    Aye, there's the rub.

    What they are basically saying is "Trust us, we are the government.."

    Sorry, but trust vanished a long time ago due to the abuse of RIPA and more topically schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (the David Miranda judgement) and it would take a miracle to get it back

  4. Bc1609

    "Such a safe space was inevitable because of cryptography, argued Kennard"

    I seem to recall another section of the IPB providing legal authorization for the long-standing practice of hacking people's devices. As has been mentioned here before, you don't need to ban encryption to read encrypted messages.

  5. BobRocket

    South Wales

    Do they have the internet in the Rhondda ?

  6. Huns n Hoses

    What IS all this about a back door key

    I understand that any useful crypto is based on the principle that factoring large primes takes like, forever, and alas for those that wish otherwise each is a single solid number.

    But give your neighbour a copy of your house key and now two parties have access to your wine cellar. Require that key to be kept updated when it changes and it becomes a key registry. Which, govt's being what they are, would probably be upload to Lastpass but that's not my point.

    Surely this is all about key management, not a tech issue at all?

    1. cbars

      Re: What IS all this about a back door key

      Hmm.

      Indeed this is not a tech issue, this is a libertarian/privacy [sic] issue. It is the government demanding that all locks which get manufactured (including your door lock) get a master key designed in and posted off to the Home Office. Follow the links in this article:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/18/keysforge_will_give_you_printable_key_blueprints_using_a_photo_of_a_lock/

      to get a great explanation of how to fuck up a lock with a master key:

      However, I can't let that slide... A certificate authority doesn't get a copy of your key. So it's not the same as your neighbour getting a copy. It's like someone asking my neighbour if I wrote that angry note they found on their car - and my neighbour checking it against that Christmas card I gave them, and saying: "yep, pretty sure he did, cbars is a dick".

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: What IS all this about a back door key

      " ... factoring large primes takes like, forever ... "

      Easy, you tell me the large prime and I'll tell you the factors. (Hint: It will be the large prime and 1.)

  7. Joe Werner Silver badge
    WTF?

    ... that they have applied...

    ...seems to be the important term here. The person (legal entity or real person) who applied the crypto to the message can be forced to decrypt it. This would not be new, as pointed out above. Of course I do not trust anyone to stick to this and not require a back door at a later point in time...

    So: why the new law? What was their motivation if there were nothing new? My guess is as good as anyone's... but I tend to expect the worst.

    Edit: just read http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/01/19/key_voice_encryption_protocol_has_backdoor/

    I guess this answers some questions...

  8. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Who is Worse?

    Parliament is trying awfully hard to overtake Congress for the greatest aggregation of dimbulbs, morons, idiot, and plain subtracting from human knowledge when they open theirs mouths. Never would have believed it possible.

  9. dan1980

    "The fact that the government claim[s] to support encryption but still think[s] that it can get access to communications (with a warrant) means it basically does not understand what encryption is."

    That is the start and the end of this argument.

  10. P. Lee Silver badge

    >The Investigatory Powers Bill will not ban or further limit encryption.

    When they say "it isn't doing what you might think," it actually is.

    We're not limiting encryption, we just want to limit how good it is at hiding things.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rhondda in the south of Wales

    Clearly the epicenter of cyber bad-uns!

  12. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    "The fact that the government claim[s] to support encryption but still think[s] that it can get access to communications (with a warrant) means it basically does not understand what encryption is."

    No shit Sherlock. But since when has that stopped a government doing something counter productive, expensive and stupid?

  13. td0s

    Guarenteed safe space

    One way to ensure they have that would be for them to roll their own - which we are already seeing for the dreaded ISIS aka 100 other things. I wonder what that was in response to?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If TV has taught me anything...

    All you need to crack the strongest encryption is a no-name USB device, a half dozen key-taps, a generic downloading.. screen, and just enough time before the night watchman returns on his rounds.

    Easy.

  15. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Sorry, Mad May of Hurst, Berkshire, you will never succeed in ...

    BANNING, that favourite British political pastime, any software especially secure communications software.

    And how will you stop it? WhatsApp sees 50 billion messages per day - not to count the billions of SMS messages - the computer basement in MI5 isn't big enough, unless they go under the Thames, and even Telco's can only store messages for a day or two.

    Get real, lady, a term I use pejoratively in her case, you can never do it even with the multi-BILLION Pound computer you are trying to buy.

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