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

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

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me get this straight, someone known to the secret services blows himself up in my home town and this scumbag government is trying to use it to get laws through even though they would not have prevented or made any difference to what happened.

    That's fucking low by any standard.

    Apologies for swearing but that has really wound me up.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      I agree

      'Low' may not adequately describe it, subterranean perhaps?

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: I agree

        Johnny's in the basement, mixing up the medicine

        I'm on the pavement, thinkin' bout government ...

        ... bad bill ... wants to get it paid off ...

    2. pleb

      Bitter irony

      Having made public devlarations of suspending election campaigning in the shadow of this tragedy, they actually leverage the very event to further their political agenda.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Bitter irony

        Having made public devlarations of suspending election campaigning in the shadow of this tragedy, they actually leverage the very event to further their political agenda.

        They did that most effectively by raising the terrorist threat level, and noisily bringing troops into the security theatre. Now the world's attention has moved on from the chaos and confusion of the manifesto and rapid U-turns, and onto the tried-and-tested recipe of looking strong and stable in the face of a threat.

        In fact the timing of the Manchester incident was extraordinarily lucky for them, just as the non-campaign was looking a bit less of a pushover. One might almost wonder if a hidden hand had sent 007 off on a wild goose chase looking for Russian influence while Inspector Clouseau headed protection at home.

    3. dan1980

      @AC

      There is another dimension to this, which is the rhetoric or blaming the overseas tech companies and thereby attempting to frame this as big, rich, multinational corporations fighting against the UK. They are trying to instill an 'us-vs-them' mentality, with the absurdity that 'us' is the UK people and the UK government and 'them' is the easily-hated power of 'big tech'.

      In fact, the opposite is far closer to the truth - it's the government vs the people with the tech industry, taking a stance that is for the good of people.

      Sure, most of these big tech companies are doing it for selfish reasons because they are worried about losing business but that's fine by me - that's how the free market is supposed to look: companies that offer services people want make a profit and prosper while those who don't lose money and fail.

      The reason is, really, beside the point - in opposing the government, it's the tech companies taking a stance that protects the people overall and in the long term.

      1. Paul 195

        It's not often that Google and Facebooks commercial interests coincide with the public interest, but this is one of them

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      High Chancellor May.

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DAptM9vXsAAoxSu.jpg

      1. whileI'mhere

        Re: FailCEO

        I think this graphic from the Ministry of Acquired Information is more apposite: https://twitter.com/richard_littler/status/753169513722552320

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        http://i.imgur.com/PfR5dJR.jpg

    5. JetSetJim Silver badge

      They've wanted to do this for ages, and now they have a combined whammy of "think of the children" *and* "terrorists" in one event, so it's another way to get the wedge a little bit further in.

      Spend the money on fixing the social (both local and global) problems that cause such nutjobs to think they are serving a higher purpose in killing random innocent people going about their business - it'll probably be cheaper in the long run, both in terms of cash and casualties.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Absolutely, but that's harder to do and it doesn't get headlines in the run-up to the election. Much better to make high-profile declarations now, force through bad law over the coming year, and then sweep it all under the carpet in five years' time when someone thinks to ask what it actually achieved.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        we need to vote them out on June 8th to stop all that

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "we need to vote them out on June 8th to stop all that"

          Didn't the Labour party also support the snoopers charter? Because they are a far worse option on just about every other policy and in utter shambles in general. So I guess you are voting UKIP or LD?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "Didn't the Labour party also support the snoopers charter?"

            No, both reds and blues voted against each others version of the snoopers charter because it was the wrong colour even though the wording and spirit were almost identical. Bike Shed Syndrome taken to the extreme.

    6. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Known to Authorities.

      Can't help but agree with the AC at the top of the thread. Our clueless so-called intelligence operatives failed to see even the most obvious of clues:

      * Suddenly wearing different clothing, associated with this form of terrorism.

      * Chanting prayers loudly in the streets

      * Changed social behavior massively

      * Trips back and forth to Libya

      * and the obscure clue.... he had an ISIS flag on his fucking roof!

      If they can't see that, I fail to see how cracking WhatsApp is going to help them.

      Why is it that whenever this crap happens we get told "He was known to authorities", but they still need yet more surveillance powers used on the rest of us?

      Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/salman-abedi-manchester-libya-syria-suicide-bomber-terrorist-attack-middle-east-islamist-a7752761.html

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Known to Authorities. @Bernard M. Orwell

        I agree with most of those, but Trips back and forth to Libya is hardly surprising since his family are Libyan and live there.

        Trips to Syria (reportedly), now that's another matter...

        1. pleb

          Re: Known to Authorities. @Bernard M. Orwell

          Trips to see Libya, or trips to see his family. Given the known leanings of his family, I'd have thought either rationale for his travel was equally cause for suspicion.

      2. Steve Evans

        Re: Known to Authorities.

        @Bernard M. Orwell

        You forgot - Was mentioned several times to the anonymous tip line too!

        Amber Rudd needs to quit the sound bites, she just ends up sounding like a feckin' idiot. As do most politicians the moment they step out of their comfort zone of 5 course meals and floating duck houses.

        The UK is about to go it alone from Europe, and the last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad because of enforced broken encryption schemes.

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

          True.

          But that's what's going to happen because the 52% (of those who bothered to vote) say so.

          IRL the UK makes a shedload of its cash from the City of London. You can bet every big banker will be working their political contacts hard to negotiate "special access" to the single European Finance market.

          Because if whoever wins on June 8th fails to do so you can bet that sometime between June 2020 and June 2022 there's going to be a shed load of office space going cheap in the E1, WC and EC post code areas.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

            Its not just the ?ankers that are angling for special deals. The way things are going I can see Brexit costing the UK somewhere upwards of 1million job as a direct or indirect result. Those most affected = those of working age that voted for it in the first place.

            I don't think any politician would be willing to stop the juggernaut now, irrespective of how bad the forecasts for the economy are, but if it does go really bad then Johnson, Farage, Gove and Davis will probably need to go into exile.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "The UK..go it alone from Europe,..last thing it needs is more companies jumping abroad"

            "But that's what's going to happen because the 52%"

            That's democracy in action. And anyway they won't leave - more likely they will be moving here - as we will be lowering our corporation tax rates to make it very attractive to be based here....

        2. Mike Richards

          Re: Known to Authorities.

          How many people are employed in Google and Facebook's shiny new London headquarters, and how many more will be in Apple's new Battersea mothership?

          Does Amber Rudd think they're going to roll over for her when both Apple and Google have previously put their finger up to the FBI and to the Chinese Communist Party? If the government tries to force the issue these companies will move abroad taking their well-remunerated stars with them.

          1. Ian Emery Silver badge

            Re: Known to Authorities.

            Err, Google have rolled over and given in to China so often, it is a joke; about the only reason they still regularly block them is to control the influx of porn.

            Try to do any search on a controversial subject through a Chinese ISP, and your service suddenly fails within a few minutes..

      3. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Known to Authorities.

        And let's not forget that apparently TWO people he went to university with called a terrorist watchline to report his extremist views and behaviour.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Known to Authorities.

        The other worst hing was that the neighbours not only put up with it all, but failed to report him to the authorities in case they were going to be branded as racists.

        Ultimately, banning WhatsApp and other software encryption protocols are going to 2 things ... nothing and fuck all!

    7. Graham Cobb

      It is appalling that at this time of distress and unity against evil criminals, the government would use the attack to push a trial balloon about removing the very freedoms British people fight for.

      When I was child, younger than the innocent victims here, I used to be very scared of an imminent nuclear attack from the USSR. My parents didn't tell me not to worry, they explained why we had to stand up against the threat: to protect the same freedoms that they had stood up for in WW2. The freedom to walk the streets without having to explain who we were, where we were going or why; the freedom from a police state; the freedom to live our lives as we wished.

      Every generation needs to be reminded of what we stand for as a country. We need to shout together that we reject fear and cowardice and stand together to protect our rights, freedoms and way of life.

      1. Esme

        @Graham Cobb - can't give you enough upvotes for that. I was trying to explain to someone yesterday why untrammelled access to our communications isnt going to suddenly make things better, and why it's downright bizarre to think that the correct response to those who'd like us to live in a dystopian police state is to turn ourselves into a dystopian police state...

        What's needed is for the legal framework to be in place to allow police (and if necessary, medics) to intervene earlier. It's clear that they know who a lot of the folk likely to do this kind of crap are, and clearly they;d love to collar them - so what's stopping them? It must be the legal framework in which they have to opertate. So instead of trotting out plans to abolish privacy, why don't Parliament get the legal framework the police have to operate looked at and adjusted, where necessary, in order to let them intervene earlier?

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          @Esme "What's needed is for the legal framework to be in place to allow police (and if necessary, medics) to intervene earlier."

          The police obviously have enough powers to shoot dead without warning a completely innocent electrician (Jean DeMenezes) who had not behaved even slightly suspiciously, because he was mistaken for a *suspected* terrorist. The person in charge of that operation was promoted. Exactly what additional powers would you like the police to have? Or is a public execution insufficient "intervention" in your eyes?

          1. Esme

            @Cynic_999 - you obviously follow the news far closer than I do, as you're talking about a case I haven't heard of - and then abusing it to make an egregrious personal attack on me. Now, I don't claim to always make the best reasoned arguments (I'm not by nature a political animal), but I do at least try.

            Anyway, let;s have a look at what you've said - so, the police shot an innocent on one occasion (and if there's been one, there may possibly have been others), but have failed to collar a lot of 'known suspects' of terorism on numerous occasions, until after something tragic has happened. So what's YOUR explanation for this? Do you think that the police en masse don't want to nab terrorists before they hurt someone, but are quite OK with going in guns-blazing against innocents?

            Or could it be that one the occasion you speak of a small number of police went off the rails and handled a situation badly whilst elsewhere the bulk of the police - human beings like you and I and just as variable as everyone else in society - are doing their damndest to try to tackle terrorism but can't do so as effectively as they'd like because they are bound by due process of law, which they respect?

            You tell me which sounds most logical and likely. Not being in the police force myself, I can only speculate logically on the matter, and might, of course, be wrong. If you have actual information on the subject, let's see it and discuss it reasonably - is that OK with you, or do you just get your jollies flaming folk?

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              @Cynic_999 - you obviously follow the news far closer than I do, as you're talking about a case I haven't heard of

              In 2005 or thereabouts Jean DeMenezes was running late for a train. The UK police thought he was acting suspiciously and shot him dead. I think there was a news article or two about it somewhere at the time. (links unread, from 2 sources with a quick google - might've helped you to do this?)

              - and then abusing it to make an egregrious personal attack on me.

              That's a bit of a stretch from what "Cynic_999" said don't you think? What in his post do you think even remotely qualifies as an attack let alone and " egregious" one?

              Or could it be that one the occasion you speak of a small number of police went off the rails and handled a situation badly

              I think the problem most have is not when police make mistakes and handle things badly, it's when they don't follow training, refuse to follow logic, innocent people get killed, and the cops who killed an innocent bystander get promoted for their efforts that pisses people off. Because it was done "in the line of duty" they get protected from prosecution. If someone else accidentally kills someone they go through a manslaughter or murder trial (more common these days), no matter how clearly accidental it was, yet the police cause a death and get protected and promoted.

              An innocent person strolling calmly through a railway station gets shot. A person who several people phone police with concerns about their behaviour, who are purchasing materials to make explosives, who are clearly unhinged and making threats against others - they get allowed to do continue on to kill and maim others despite "being known to the authorities" and "under active investigation" and so on.

              The police have all the powers they need. They aren't using them to investigate known dangerous people. If you give them more powers they will continue to not use them to investigate known dangerous people, instead will use them (accidentally or otherwise) to harm innocent people.

              As Cynic_999 asked - what more powers would you give them?

              If you have actual information on the subject, let's see it and discuss it reasonably - is that OK with you, or do you just get your jollies flaming folk?

              Again, would love to know what Cynic_999 said that was "flaming"? And no, nothing in my post is intended as an attack on you, in case you were wondering.

      2. Chronos Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        @Graham Cobb

        This. Well said, sir.

      3. RobHib
        Unhappy

        @Graham Cobb - Re: UK ministers to push anti-encryption laws after election.

        "When I was child, younger than the innocent victims here, I used to be very scared of an imminent nuclear attack from the USSR. My parents didn't tell me not to worry, they explained why we had to stand up against the threat: to protect the same freedoms that they had stood up for in WW2."

        I can only concur with you completely. I also grew up in that Cold War era and your experience is identical to mine.

        I am terribly scared of the continuing march towards authoritarianism by so-called Western democratic governments. A few years ago, the trend was just alarming but now it has become very frightening—and like the frog in the ever-warming water—most of the population seem not to be aware of its implications nor what is ultimately at stake—a fact of which opportunistic governments have taken ruthless advantage.

        Moreover, these disingenuous governments have never put forward truly substantive evidence or reasons for their increasingly authoritarian actions—instead they hide truth and facts behind walls of secrecy; nor have they ever engaged in any proper discourse with the public over these issues—the most they can muster is FUD, Fear Uncertainty and Doubt, and opportunistic pronouncements (as here, as a consequence of the terrible Manchester tragedy).

        Whilst the present zeitgeist and today's politics are different, the effective undercurrent of what is now happening is not very different to what happened in Germany in 1933 or in the latter Cold War East German Stasi era.

        To date, governments have not yet needed to resort to jackboots in the streets as they did in Germany some 80 years ago; instead, they've now adopted more sophisticated PR and psychological tactics to gain control over the citizenry. And if or when these methods fail they then act unilaterally, as they know the citizenry won't react as it's essentially in a state of somnolence and passivity. The widespread use of mass surveillance, ever-increasing online censorship and the moves towards the banning of encryption by governments is essentially not that different to what happened in the Nazi book-burning era—in the end it amounts to the same thing, that of smothering freedoms through intimidation. Seems we've forgotten "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance".

        People, even if still allowed, have or are becoming frightened to access various forms of online information for fear of being 'marked' or put on some secret government list about which they've no right of reply or ability to question—these are the very essence of the tactics used by the Abwehr, Gestapo, Stasi and KGB to control the population. As it is, I'm now forever mindful about what I do online and I find myself self-censoring searches that most people would have considered completely innocuous a decade ago.

        In this new political climate if trends continue as they have been doing over the past decade, then I would not be surprised to see books that were part of the curriculum at my university, which I once had to study, such as Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Rousseau's Social Contract, etc. being banned from the internet, as they're now deemed too subversive for citizens to access freely without being monitored by The State.

        If we were able bring WWII veterans back to witness what is happening nowadays then they would be utterly appalled to see the very ethics, moral values and freedoms they fought and died for being subverted and just cast aside by unscrupulous and morally corrupt governments for effectively no other reason than for them to gain even more power.

        This is a terrible state of affairs.

    8. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks...

      1. Smooth Newt
        Happy

        Haystacks

        Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks...

        I don't think it is about "security". After all, no one has said that anti-encryption laws would have made the slightest difference here - for one thing the investigation has only just started, so no one knows.

        I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent in society. Bombs and terrorists are just a convenient excuse for getting what they want. This is a ratchet, once they get this, they will just demand the next bit of intrusive monitoring on their list.

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Haystacks

          "I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent in society. "

          Not quite. More like:

          I think it is about being able to monitor and control dissent information flow in society.

          Namely being able to censor what the great unwashed public get to find out about our elected leaders.

          Cos...think of how the expenses scandal unfolded...now think of the children and how we could've protected them from that awful mess if only they hadn't been exposed to the facts...

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Clearly the problem here is that the security services need much bigger haystacks..."

        All the better to hide behind. Obviously they already are collecting so much data that it's only after the event when they have something specific to look for that they suddenly realise they have the data they need. If they have even more data, then they have an even better excuse for not doing anything except in hindsight.

    9. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      "Let me get this straight,

      Let me get this straight, someone known to the secret services blows himself up in my home town and this scumbag government is trying to use it to get laws through even though they would not have prevented or made any difference to what happened."

      Correct.

      Just as the Madrid bombings were used when the UK had the chair of the EU to push through the EU Data Retention Directive, despite Spain (and several other countries) having zero interest in doing so. It has taken years for other countries to dial back this BS.

      To the data fetishist cabal within the Home Office any terrorist event is another "opportunity" to tell Parliament how they would have been stopped (despite all evidence to the contrary) with yet more surveillance.

      This has FA to do with "keeping people safe."

      Mass surveillance is now cheap enough and easy enough (because of how much most people do on line) that (to a certain kind of senior civil "servant") it's just cheaper to do so.

      "Give me 6 lines from an honest man, and I'll find something with which to hang him" as the Cardinal put it.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Known to the security services".

      Every time.

      Every. Fucking. Time.

      I was genuinely waiting to see if this would turn out to be the case in this attack and- sure enough- it was.

      And yet- as the OP observed- they can, and will, use this as an excuse for a blanket crackdown on civil liberties- just as they've tried following every "known to the security services" attack- despite the fact it wouldn't have helped here.

      Every time.

      1. John Sturdy
        Black Helicopters

        "Known to the security services" doesn't narrow it down much

        We commentards are probably all known to the security services (at least in the sense of "in a security service database"), for posting on a site known not to agree with everything the government says.

    11. FuzzyWuzzys
      Facepalm

      Irony-o-meter exploded!

      Here's the real kicker...

      The main BBC headline states that PM is not going to share info with the US because there have been insecure leaks of critcial information to the media!

      Holy crap irony-o-meter off the scale!

      1. SteveK

        Re: Irony-o-meter exploded!

        Indeed, and only a mere couple of weeks since a major malware outbreak based on leaked vulnerabilities amassed by security agencies showed that said agencies clearly can't be trusted to securely safeguard any back doors that they might demand.

        1. RobHib

          Re: Irony-o-meter exploded!

          "Indeed, and only a mere couple of weeks since a major malware outbreak based on leaked vulnerabilities amassed by security agencies showed that said agencies clearly can't be trusted to securely safeguard any back doors that they might demand."

          Strange isn't it that all this extra surveillance capability hasn't manifested in fewer "WannaCry"-like viruses or the capture of the ratbags behind them.

          It would be very informative to see a graph plot of 'results' versus 'degree/amount of mass surveillance' over time/recent years. If such a graph actually exists then I'd reckon it'd be classified Top Secret—as it would show that governments have wasted millions of taxpayers' money to little effect.

          Oh, BTW, it seems to me that democratic government would be much more democratic if the nameless government bureaucrats who propose these anti-democratic schemes were actually named (i.e.: by force of law, their name, rank and serial number so to speak had to be attached to all related documents, both secret and public).

          These anonymous power-mongers have been getting away with 'democratic murder' for far too long.

    12. Julz
      Big Brother

      Someone of particular interest to the secret services since he was born as son of a known Libyan dissident, that had just returned a few weeks ago from a visit to Libya, who was checked out and back in through border control, was allowed to go on and blow himself up. It has a strong smell of MI6 fuck up.

      Oh, and back on topic, yep, our politicians will use anything, however low and despicable, to try and push through snooping legislation.

    13. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Action or just talk?

      What are you Brits going to do about it? Here's hoping you vote for the correct party. On other side of the pond cheering you on.

      1. Toltec

        Re: Action or just talk?

        There's a correct party?

        Why has no one told me about this before? I've spent the last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil and there was an easier way?

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Coat

          "last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil"

          Now that has an easy answer.

          Vote Cthulhu

          Why choose the lesser evil?

          1. Toltec

            Re: "last three decades trying to vote for the lesser evil"

            So I'm not the only one to think there are signs of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN beginning.

            We should move over to encypted channels to dis - oh bugger

    14. Christoph Silver badge

      Gurerfn Znl vf Jngpuvat Lbh

    15. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Never let a good crisis go to waste - Politicians.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clueless govt...

    Wow first post!

    The clue stick simply isn't working with the government, I'm struggling to understand how they keep pushing this agenda when anyone with a modicum of intelligence understands it will never work.

    You can push as much legislation as you like, terrorists etc will ignore the legislation, that really unfair, that terrorists won't play by the rules, its just not British.

    The US companies will simply ignore the legislation as they will consider themselves outside of UK legislation.

    UK companies will have to make two versions of their products and might as well throw away all security for the UK version as basically the UK govt says it wants to rape and pillage your data, however nobody will ever trust a UK technical product as the correct assumption is that its now 100% insecure.

    There will be leaks galore as people use it to check on straying partners, the keys will get lost as somebody loses the USB stick with them on or the latest malware rips them off.

    Does anybody in the govt have the slightest understanding of what they are asking or are they so far up the Daily Mail's backside that they can no longer see or hear?

    Not a single technical expert has said this is a sensible, every one has said back doors to encryption is flawed yet the loony right still push this agenda.

    Time to leave this little country with its little politicians and find somewhere with a bit more freedom, I hear North Korea is more enlightened these days.

    1. Timmy B Silver badge

      Re: Clueless govt...

      You sound surprised that they haven't thought this through or allowed for the fact that criminals and terrorists by their very nature will continue to break the law. It' just the nature of the "we can't be seen to be doing nothing" government we have. I hope that the general populace see through it and cause a stink like they did with the money grab for elderly care and they U turn.

      1. Mark 110

        Re: Clueless govt...

        It is baffling. How difficult do they think it is to write an encrypted server-less communication platform. Its well documented how to do this stuff. The terrorists will just roll their own, stick it on BitTorrent for anyone to use and the law is instantly unenforceable.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Clueless govt...

          You can write any kind of app you want. The government expects you to design in the capability to intercept everything though so when they do ask you for the data they want you can give it to them, otherwise you'll be on the wrong end of legal action.

          But nothing is banned. Not that, oh no.

        2. Aitor 1

          Re: Clueless govt...

          They are not clueles, and these laws are obviously not for terrorists, but to control and manipulate the general population..and it works. The poor vote the tories...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clueless govt...

            Labour making a come back I hear, many of the poor plan on voting Labour now

            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

              Re: Clueless govt...

              People can downvote that all they want, mate, but the fact of the matter is that you're right. Labour are making gains and May...sorry, I mean the Conservatives, are losing points rapidly. The gap is thinning.

              https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2017/may/08/general-election-2017-poll-tracker-who-is-in-the-lead

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Clueless govt...

                I also agree some on here say they hate May but also say they wont vote because everyone else will vote Tory when that not true... I wonder sometime if some people on here secretly want May to win and take are freedoms away.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Clueless govt...

              "Labour making a come back I hear, [...]"

              Unfortunately they will do the same as May on this issue. Their new support is down to the perceived self-interest of segments of the electorate. Labour have not opposed this sort of thing in the past. They have previously proposed even bigger inroads into human rights eg 90 day detention without trial and ID cards.

              The fact that the Labour leadership is now "left wing" rather than "centre-right" will probably increase the tendency to totalitarian measures. Idealists who have long thirsted for the levers of power soon get frustrated when their aims are being opposed by "reactionaries". The leadership is likely to resort to the position on many issues with "the end justifies the means".

              Given the way the FPTP system operates then a hung Parliament is not unthinkable.

              1. MJI Silver badge

                Re: Clueless govt...

                May party - want our data.

                Labour - want our data.

                I know how I am voting now, and it is not those two.

                Theresa May is the reason I will not vote for her party. Both Corbyn and the previous ID cards shite for his.

                Better say it again.

                I prefered Cameron, Milliband and Clegg to May, Corbyn and Farron.

                1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Unhappy

                  "I know how I am voting now, and it is not those two."

                  Did you vote on the referendum for proportional representation? If you did how did you vote?

                  If you didn't vote, or voted for BAU, these are your options.

                  If you're happy with your MP, vote for them, to block others replacing them.

                  If not vote for the first runner up party from last time. Doesn't matter who they are. They have the best shot of getting rid of your sitting tenant.

                  Those are your options in a first-past-the-post system. A system the UK shares with all these fine nations. fine nations. although not with any part of Europe.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: "I know how I am voting now, and it is not those two."

                    That was just a sop to "reactionaries". The choice was FPTP or the worst and most complicated version of PR and almost every media piece about it was to tell the voters just how bad it would be under the PR system proposed.

                    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                      Unhappy

                      "almost every media piece.. to tell the voters..how bad it would be under the PR system proposed."

                      With PR the devil has always been in the details. I suspect there are several PhDs to be written on the them of what would be a "fair" PR system.

                      At the very least it should give any MP elected a much cleared mandate. I think it would be great for an MP to know that more than 50% of the active voters (IE those who voted) find them acceptable, even if they were not those voters first choice.

                  2. kmac499

                    Re: "I know how I am voting now, and it is not those two."

                    Can we please stop calling our system 'First past the Post' It isn't; there is no post.

                    The phrase FPTP gives a nice fuzzy feeling of an outright winner adding legitimacy to the winner as if they are all in an evenly matched game, like an Olympic 100m sprint race,

                    Our system should more accurately be called 'Furthest From The Start' or FFTS. (FFS for short ??) You win as long your pile of votes is one more than the next candidate,irrespective of the absolute size of the piles, and even if the sum total of all other votes massively outnumbers yours.

                    No quorom, No defined second choice.. grrrr.

                    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                      Unhappy

                      "No quorom, No defined second choice.. grrrr."

                      Quite true.

                      And hence the perfect plan for a Brexit referendum as well.

                      Indeed this system ensures someone gets elected even if only one voter turns up (and if it's the right borough and the voter is "Mr E. Blackadder" they may also be the only voter).

              2. RealBigAl

                Re: Clueless govt...

                A hung parliament would be a good thing, but it won't happen. The FPTP gerrymandered constituency system used to elect MPs to Westminster will ensure a right of centre government, it'll almost certainly be a Conservative one.

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  "A hung parliament would be a good thing, but it won't happen."

                  You clearly have a very weak grasp of recent history.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  it wont be a Conservative one

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Clueless govt...

                "Given the way the FPTP system operates then a hung Parliament is not unthinkable."

                A hung Parliament is eminently thinkable. Farron, unfortunately, has been stupid enough to rule out a coalition in advance. A LibDem participation in a coalition is about the only thing that would stop this nonsense as Labour would do the same. I suppose just possibly a very slim majority might result in a change in PM - if May finds herself weakened Hammond would probably move next door.

              4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                Unhappy

                "the way the FPTP system operates then a hung Parliament is not unthinkable."

                Which worked quite well but this time round it's unlikely the LibDems will be in any position to put a brake on them.

                Britain. The only country in Europe with a FPTP system.

                Apparently its believed to be the only system simple enough for the British electorate to understand.

                And when asked the British electorate agreed. "We are too lazy and ignorant to understand anything more complex, except for local authority elections, which we can understand."

                1. I am the liquor

                  Re: "the way the FPTP system operates then a hung Parliament is not unthinkable."

                  'And when asked the British electorate agreed. "We are too lazy and ignorant to understand anything more complex, except for local authority elections, which we can understand."'

                  Actually only 28% of the electorate liked FPTP enough to bother voting for it. 58% of British voters apparently don't care what the electoral system is, and presumably would be equally happy with FPTP or AV.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Clueless govt...

              "Labour making a come back I hear"

              Do you think Labour's attitude towards encryption and privacy would be any different? Their past record suggests otherwise. This goes beyond party politics. It's the people pulling strings behind the scenes you should worry about. They stay the same whatever party is elected.

              1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                Re: Clueless govt...

                "This goes beyond party politics"

                can't argue with that PoV. Problem is that the only party saying they would dismantle the surveillance state is the LibDems and they've got zero chance and zero influence. If they had a chance, I'd vote for them in a heartbeat.

                I'm pinning hope that Corbyn is more likely to listen to sense, reason, expertise and public opinion than May is.

                1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  At least Corbyn engages with people, rather than hiding in an ivory tower.

                2. I am the liquor

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  @Bernard M. Orwell

                  "If they had a chance, I'd vote for them in a heartbeat. I'm pinning hope that Corbyn is more likely to listen to sense, reason, expertise and public opinion"

                  The trouble is that public opinion, as evidenced by your vote for him, would be saying that Corbyn has the right answers. I think you're much better off voting for someone who actually reflects your views. Look at what votes for UKIP have done, despite them being almost as far from a parliamentary majority as it's possible to be.

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: Clueless govt...

                    "I think you're much better off voting for someone who actually reflects your views."

                    This! Many people seem to forget they are voting for their local MP to represent them in Parliament. This could mean voting for a party you don't like if their local candidate happens to not agree with everything their party stands for and happens to agree with you, the voter while the other candidates, even if from "your" party, may not hold your views. Voters need to know who they are voting for, not just what colour rosette they are wearing and who their current leader is before casting their vote.

                3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  "If they had a chance, I'd vote for them in a heartbeat."

                  Then do so for two reasons.

                  Firstly in pretty well every election the number of people who don't bother voting is greater than the majority and if those not voting do so because their choice "hasn't a chance" that attitude becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Give them that chance. Vote.

                  Secondly, although they don't stand a chance of forming a government they do, in the event of a hung Parliament, stand a chance of exerting a degree of control. They would have influence. All it takes is people like you to vote for them.

                4. Kiwi Silver badge
                  Holmes

                  Re: Clueless govt...

                  Problem is that the only party saying they would dismantle the surveillance state is the LibDems and they've got zero chance and zero influence. If they had a chance, I'd vote for them in a heartbeat.

                  I'd be willing to bet that there's at least 100,000 people in the UK who think along those lines. People who will throw away their vote either by not voting, or by voting for a party they don't really want to vote for.

                  What do you think would be the result if every one who prefers LibDems policies actually voted for them? Instead of voting for bigparty despite not liking them, vote for smallparty because you like them. Even if they don't win this year, more support this year makes them more noticeable if/when the next election hits.

                  And you still have some days. What are you waiting for? Get out and educate as many as you can as best as you can about what is going on, and who is promising to reverse things.

            4. veti Silver badge

              Re: Clueless govt...

              Oh yeah, because Labour would be so much better. From their manifesto:

              We will always provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe.

              Granted, there follows some bromide about preserving civil liberties, but you know what? - the Tories have that too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Clueless govt...

            yes, I do believe that the gov folks, aka, our masters, are not clueless, in this sense, that they - as always - have been sold on the idea that "we can't be retroactive now, look at all this stuff, we need to be ahead of the game!" With total control over communications and surveillence drones silently monitoring everyone, look, we can prevent... ANYTHING.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Clueless govt...

          The reality of encryption to date is that rolling your own [always] leads to practical attacks on it immediately. So, in a real sense, it makes it even easier for the security services to identify those communications that may be of interest and easily crack them using a small portion of their data centers resources.

          1. bobblestiltskin

            Re: Clueless govt...

            communications that may be of interest and easily crack them

            gpg and steganography would not make this at all easy - how long does it take to crack a gpg-encrypted message with a very long keylength?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clueless govt...

      I've worked extensively throughout Scandinavia, but have been in the UK the past five years.

      Scotland seems to have the right idea of progression towards autonomy with the Nordics and Scandinavia.

      On the World Press Freedom index Norway, Sweden and numerous other progressive countries are top of the list. The UK has slipped from 34 to 38 to 40 in the past few years.

      Why do people continue to vote in parties that progress these views?

      I *SERIOUSLY* doubt the current Labour group want this invasion of privacy and communications. By our Scandinavian standards Corybn and Labour are NOT 'communist' - they are standard social democrat and are currently in power throughout the Nordics and Scandinavia! (There is a different in these terminologies, by the way, which is why I must mention both.)

      Why not aim after the most equal (least income inequality) and surveyed happiness countries in the world?

      WHY DOES THE UK WISH TO COPY AMERICA?!?!?! It makes zero sense for your normal low to middle earning individual. America has amongst the highest income inequality in the world, with certain areas on-par with African countries for child poverty and lack of education.

      Wake up England!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Clueless govt...

        "I *SERIOUSLY* doubt the current Labour group want this invasion of privacy and communications."

        Presumably you were in Scandinavia at the time but they have past form on this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Clueless govt...

          That was the tory-style 'New Labour'. The current crew are completely different, that you can be sure of. You would at least agree there is a huge chance they are different, surely?

          LibDems are a wasted vote in this election. I really hope the tories don't get in, or if they do then a tiny majority.

          I trust Corbyn more than any other politician, except the SNP group. They seem to be genuinely concerned for the middle and lower classes (if you believe in the concept of class anymore.)

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "LibDems are a wasted vote in this election. "

            Except in the 63 constituencies where they were 2nd place. here

    3. davemcwish
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Clueless govt...

      "UK companies will have to make two versions of their products and might as well throw away all security for the UK version as basically the UK govt says it wants to rape and pillage your data, however nobody will ever trust a UK technical product as the correct assumption is that its now 100% insecure."

      Hmm. So if someone resident in the UK has a non-locked down client device, what's stopping them from buying or otherwise acquiring and using the non-UK Govt approved application and using it?

      Like um pgp in the early 1990's. Don't they learn from failed historical examples ?

  3. Jim Cosser

    A backdoor is a backdoor for all

    As shown by the NSA exploits, backdoors will not just be used by 'the good guys' surely we can get that across to Joe public given the recent Wanacry publicity?

    1. David Knapman
      Joke

      Re: A backdoor is a backdoor for all

      But don't you see? Surely the biggest problem with Wanacry was the fact that it used encryption! Therefore, if they outlaw encryption, they'll be making everyone safer.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Should be

      A backdoor for one is a backdoor for all.

      FTFY.

  4. Donchik

    Good idea!

    About time the state came clean about it's desire to establish the "Police" variety of state on us all.

    Of course misses the blindingly obvious that if GCHQ does not have sufficient processing power to break the encryption, what chance our useless ISP's?

    Perhaps Teresa Mayhem et al need a reality check on what is actually feasible before such knee jerk legislation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good idea!

      Perhaps Teresa Mayhem et al need a reality check on what is actually feasible before such knee jerk legislation.

      Should we expect more from somebody with a degree in geography?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good idea!

        "Should we expect more from somebody with a degree in geography?"

        At least it was a proper science rather than the usual PPE.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        WTF?

        "Should we expect more from somebody with a degree in geography?"

        May's degree is PPE.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Good idea!

      They don't want to break anyone's encryption, they want to be able to view anyone's profile in near realtime via backdoor.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Good idea!

        "They don't want to break anyone's encryption, they want to be able to view anyone's profile in near realtime via backdoor."

        Backdoor = Broken encryption.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Good idea!

      Perhaps Teresa Mayhem et al need a reality check on what is actually feasible before such knee jerk legislation.

      What makes you think that a dictator wannabe with delusions of grandure can be influenced by a reality check. Bonus points for Vicar Offspring.

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    The encryption horse is free

    shutting the stable door now won't get it back.

    No encryption means no use of the internet to fill in tax returns, VAT forms, No internet banking. No ordering things online because you can't make payments in a secure manner.

    It could mean no ATM's (they are all connected to the internet these days)

    and no funds transfer between banks thus forcing Companies having to pay workers in Cash again.

    etc

    etc

    Then there are the plethora of VPN's use by companies to allow their staff to work while on the move..

    As usual, the civil servants are too timid to point this out to their political masters (Yes Minister!)

    Back in the 1990's, France banned Encryption apart from banking use.

    but sorry the encryption Horse has bolted and this move won't get it back in the stable.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: The encryption horse is free

      As usual, the civil servants are too timid to point this out to their political masters (Yes Minister!)

      If every home secretary for the past 20 years or so ends up crossing over to the dark side, I can only conclude that it's the civil servants that are pushing it. The only respite we got was with the Lib Dems from 2010-2015.

      1. smudge Silver badge

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        The only respite we got was with the Lib Dems from 2010-2015.

        Ehh??? Have you forgotten who was Home Secretary? Kim Jong-May. Snoopers Charter, etc etc...

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: The encryption horse is free

          Kim Jong-May. Snoopers Charter

          At the time, none of her ideas passed without being extensively gutted, exactly because of Lib Dems.

          I have said before, I will say it again. Come back Cleggie, everything is forgiven.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: The encryption horse is free

          They did however manage to put the brakes on the Snooper's Charter until the Tories were governing alone from 2015 onwards. May originally announced it in 2012.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: The encryption horse is free

            I know of quite a few centre right voters who liked the coalition moving their votes from one of them to the other.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: The encryption horse is free

          "Ehh??? Have you forgotten who was Home Secretary? Kim Jong-May. Snoopers Charter, etc etc..."

          Short attention span eh? You are the reason politics is now made up of PR people and media sound-bites. Push a misleading sound-bite often enough and eventually the masses will come to believe it's true.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        If every home secretary for the past 20 years or so ends up crossing over to the dark side, I can only conclude that it's the civil servants that are pushing it.

        Got it in one. My theory is that the only things they allow the Home Secretary to read are the worst crime statistics and Judge Dredd stories. (Blunkett presumably got audio books.)

        Note also that there's now talk of having to prove your identity when voting. Given that not everybody has a driving license or a passport we obviously need another solution. In a Sir Humphrey voice: "Well Minister, how about introducing identity cards? Think how much easier it would make things - it could be used by the NHS and HMRC as well, which would cut costs."

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: The encryption horse is free

          My theory is that the only things they allow the Home Secretary to read are the worst crime statistics and Judge Dredd stories.

          If this were the case, then why did May cut funding to the police when Home Sec? There have been a number of Dredd storylines recently concerned with understaffing and lack of resources for the Judges. Add to that, if they read 2000AD, it would have been banned by now as a subversive publication, given its propensity for sometimes not-so-subtle parody of the British government.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: The encryption horse is free

            "If this were the case, then why did May cut funding to the police when Home Sec"

            Because May wants the Police to be (a) employees not independent Crown servants [and therefore able to tell her to eff off] and (b) privatised [ideally to her husband's company].

            1. William Old

              Re: The encryption horse is free

              Well said. Unfortunately, with police (officer) numbers down 16,000 over the last few years, and still plummetting (Google "Laura Beal" if you don't recognise the name), and a round a quarter of police forces in England and Wales struggling to respond promptly to 999 calls, it's probably now too late. I think we might now have passed the tipping point.

              1. BongoJoe

                Re: The encryption horse is free

                Isn't the act of visiting an HTTPS site end-to-end encryption?

      3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        In terms of civil servants, specifically, Charlie Farr.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Farr

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: The encryption horse is free

      "No encryption means..."

      Nobody is proposing no encryption. Not even an unnamed source in a dodgy newspaper just before an election. There's enough to be worried about here without making up ghosts.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Nobody is proposing no encryption. "

        What they are proposing is worse.

        A fake "walled garden" where encryption seems to work but is actually over rideable on demand.

        Most people will barely consider that "on demand" part.

        But any foreign business thinking about buying UK software will be thinking "WTF should I buy something I know will insert a big f**king hole in my security?"

        Until one of the army of bad guys (actual bad guys, not the roughly 1 in 4333 UK subjects who MI5 said was a terrorist "suspect") reverse engineers this BS (you can smell the whiff of "security by obscurity" already) and does for real what a character in a William Gibson short story (burning Chrome?) is described to have done and guts a whole (African ?) countries economy.

    3. The Allie Cat

      Re: The encryption horse is free

      To be very fair - the goal isn't to ban encryption. It is to ban end to end encryption between users. Which is fairly new actually. It would require new privacy policies and the removal of advanced features for UK customers (the secret chat modes), but it wouldn't be the technical disaster we would like to think for users. Of mainstream apps, only WhatsApp would be completely banned (instead of just having secret chats disabled).

      It would be a disaster for British companies. We are already seen as being too close to the Americans. Like people are starting to avoid American tech in privacy-conscious applications, they'd do the same for British tech. Brexit alone may inspire this.

      I don't support an end to end encryption ban. But let's be clear it isn't a ban on things like online banking.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        "Of mainstream apps, only WhatsApp would be completely banned"

        Did you join up today to astro-turf on behalf of the Home Office?

        Lets look at what you forgot:

        Online banking.

        Placing orders online with Amazon, eBay, Tesco etc etc.

        Paying for anything via PayPal

        Securely sending your password to your email provider to get your mail

        Logging into pretty well any other service.

        All these things require end-to-end encryption between one user (the customer) and another (the service provider) in order to work securely. If you don't thing this security is important then I challenge you to post all the IDs and passwords that you use for such services here in public.

        But first, have a look at the T&Cs of these services. You'll find every one requires you to keep this information confidential. Your government wants to make it impossible for you to abide by those.

        And for what? For nothing as far as the stated purpose is concerned. Because any organisation that wants to use encryption to facilitate law breaking is concerned will source encrypted communications from outside the government's remit. The only ones to suffer will be law-abiding citizens.

        1. Sloth77

          Re: The encryption horse is free

          "Did you join up today to astro-turf on behalf of the Home Office?

          Lets look at what you forgot:"

          No, you are missing the subtlety here. They are not bothered about end-to-end encryption between customer and service, ie me -> Google, because Google is able to decrypt the information and simply pass it to the goverment. As they do already.

          What they are bothered about is end-to-end encryption directly between users. Because then the only people that can decrypt it are the two users. And as it was previously pointed out, this type of encryption is fairly rare.

          So:

          Online banking.

          Placing orders online with Amazon, eBay, Tesco etc etc.

          Paying for anything via PayPal

          Securely sending your password to your email provider to get your mail

          Logging into pretty well any other service.

          Are all perfectly safe. At least in theory. Unless the government change their mind....

          1. Truckle The Uncivil

            Re: The encryption horse is free

            @Sloth77

            You are completely erroneous in the assumption that user to user encryption is rare. It is not. The majority of my communications with other persons is end-to-end user-to-user encrypted. It is inherent in an Apple eco-system.

            I don't care which fanboi side of the fence you sit on, you cannot call the use of Apple devices 'rare'.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        I don't support an end to end encryption ban. But let's be clear it isn't a ban on things like online banking.

        No, it just means all your online banking activity (and everything else) is visible to the government.

        If they wrote the law properly, they could require a backdoor into the https protocol.

      3. Truckle The Uncivil

        Re: The encryption horse is free

        @The Allie Cat

        So, after this is in effect use of all iPhones becomes illegal? I use iMessages and FaceTime far more than I use cell calls. They both use end-to-end and full disk encryption. Most of the people I am in contact with on a regular basis are covered by them.

        Even if Apple 'withdrew' from the country the devices would still be there.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The encryption horse is free

      I went to a focus group on banking communications recently set up by my bank. The person leading the discussion was suggesting ways we could be contacted and what we thought of them. When email came up I explained that if you wouldn't write it on the back of a postcard then sending it on an email was a distinct no no. After some more input we were told to ignore the security issues with the method of transmission. I said great send me everything on the back of a postcard then because if in this virtual world we're saying security is perfect then that's just a secure and I don't have to go to the bother of opening an envelope. As I'd singled myself out I was then asked whether I was concerned about my use of internet banking and I said I don't use it.

      "No encryption means no use of the internet to fill in tax returns, VAT forms, "

      Ooh we won't get that because HMRC are pushing for Making Tax Digital and the Clusterf*ck that's going to be. When those below the VAT threshold were going to be included from next year (it's 2019 now) I phoned HMRC and asked what information would need to be provided digitally by me (or to be more accurate my accountants) on a quarterly basis. To be told "we can't tell you unless you are part of the trial" was a bit of a shock. I still don't know and to be honest I'm past caring.

      I'll save a fair bit if the ban hits Amazon and Ebay because the amount of cr*p I've bought on Ebay and vis Amazon Prime is disturbing.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Liberty for temporary safety

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Liberty for temporary safety

      I wish I could upvote you a billion times, such a shame you hid behind the AC tag - although that wont work if Comrade May gets her way.

      For the first time in my life, I am voting Labour - even if Corbyn IS a gimp; this government deserves to die even more than the bastards behind the attack.

      It has got to the point where I trust them so little, my first thought after the Manchester attack was "Isnt that convenient - 2 weeks before the election. It's almost as if they've done an Erdogan".

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: Liberty for temporary safety

        Except Corbyn wants to bannish Umbrella companies and he hates contractors with a passion. I have no idea who to vote for tbh. They're all pants. Might even go UKIP if they have anything interesting. Is Screaming Lord Sutch still about?

        The tories will kill any investment in the UK with this. What foreign company in their right mind would come here with a ban on encryption? Taxes can be as low as you like but no security? Forget it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Liberty for temporary safety

          > Is Screaming Lord Sutch still about?

          Screaming Lord David Edward Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow died on 16 June 1999. The Monster Raving Loony Party have 12 candidates in the GE and will hope to beat their best ever 0.1% of the vote.

      2. SundogUK

        Re: Liberty for temporary safety

        "..this government deserves to die even more than the bastards behind the attack."

        Seriously? Taking away your encryption is worse then massacring children?

        Arsehole.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Liberty for temporary safety

          "Seriously? Taking away your encryption is worse then massacring children?"

          What do terrorists want to do? They want to remove our freedom under the law. So when a government decides to remove some of that freedom anyway then the terrorists have won a substantial victory. Is that what you want?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liberty for temporary safety

        "Isnt that convenient - 2 weeks before the election. It's almost as if they've done an Erdogan".

        One of the aims of terrorist groups is to alienate more people from the government - that makes for richer recruitment grounds for them. Daesh/ISIS want the Government to react with repressive measures - and Theresa may has the mentality to walk into their trap.

        Unfortunately Labour will be no different from the Tories. They have not opposed May's measures in the past.

      4. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Liberty for temporary safety

        Don't trust Labour either. Remember ID cards?

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Liberty for temporary safety

          Don't trust Labour either. Remember ID cards?

          It may have escaped your attention, but those who were in power and responsible for that sort of thing around a decade ago are substantively not the same people in charge of the Labour Party now. If you concentrate really hard, you might remember a leadership election, where the red Tories got voted out, and replaced by a leftie vegetarian bloke with a beard, and then a couple of failed coups where they tried to get rid of him again.

          Many of the people who now support the Labour Party share my opinions of those who were at the head of the party under Blair, and those opinions are not kind. This is why the membership of the party fell while Labour were last in power, and then grew massively once the Blairites were toppled.

          Add to this the suggestion that Home Secretaries are usually not well qualified for the job (I can't recall one who has actually ever worked in policing, for example), then they will be getting their opinions from the senior civil servants who feed them to them. You have to ask yourself who the 'Sir Humphrey' is, because the coordinated drive towards authoritarianism across a number of successive governments could only plausibly be coming from Whitehall.

      5. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Liberty for temporary safety

        For the first time in my life, I am voting Labour

        Speaking as someone who in my youth was an enthusiastic supporter of Thatcher, I may very well be with you there. Though I shall look at the full list of candidates before a final decision.

        It's almost as if they've done an Erdogan

        I think that comparison is unduly harsh on Erdogan. He had an actual referendum about giving himself more powers, whereas only a select few in Maidenhead get to vote for or against our Leader. And above all, with Syria and Iraq on his borders, Erdogan has very real and major problems to deal with.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: Liberty for temporary safety

          @Nick: I think the remark about Erdogan refers to the botched "coup" last year. Which was very convenient for him. Oh well, I guess if you've read your Machiavelli attentively, you'll recognize your own Reichstag to burn when you see it.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Liberty for temporary safety

            Not to mention several 'terrorist bombings' over the past few years allegedly orchestrated by 'Kurdish separatists', and very convenient for a religious-right wanna-be dictator who might wish to further marginalise and demonise the on-the-whole secular and democratic Kurdish peoples.

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Liberty for temporary safety

            I think the remark about Erdogan refers to the botched "coup" last year. Which was very convenient for him

            Yes, I realise that's a strong parallel. And history gives us many more such: we still have some residual effects from the 1605 plot, in that for example the monarch can't marry a Catholic (and Northern Ireland bears more serious scars).

            Where the parallel ends is in the timing. As far as I know, the Turkish coup could have happened a year earlier or later and still served Erdogan's agenda equally well. Insofar as it served an existing agenda, as opposed to creating a new agenda, which is a question for historians.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Liberty for temporary safety

      But what happens if essential liberty is the thing that keeps you from being safe FULL STOP? Then it becomes a matter of whether or not liberty and safety are really compatible with each other. IOW, it becomes a stark choice between two naturally-attracting regimes. Pick your poison: the police state or anarchy.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Pick your poison: the police state or anarchy."

        A classic rhetorical method.

        It's BS. IRL there is a trade off between freedom and risk. Raod accidents kill about 3 000 subjects in the UK every year, but no one in their right mind is talking about banning private cars.

        It was estimated that in 2014 smoking caused 78 000 deaths in the UK. Yet no one is talking about an outright ban, because it makes too much money and would be as stupid as Prohibition was in the US.

        This particular "cunning plan" trades off the slight risk IE 22 deaths in 12 years Vs the guaranteed hole put in everybodies personal data security.

        1. Truckle The Uncivil

          Re: "Pick your poison: the police state or anarchy."

          @John Smith 19

          It is BS now but will it remain so long term.

          People's personal power, the individual's ability to destroy or create becomes greater with every passing moment. Bigger guns, better explosives, transport, training. Let alone access to new technologies like CRISPR. Every year we get more deadly to ourselves.

          We are almost at the point (almost?) where an individual could destroy us all.

          So either every one 'has to' be happy -OR-

          Everyone 'has to' be controlled.

          Is that, ultimately what we are looking at? Because I would die before making either of those choices.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry High Street Bank

    The Government ate my encryption!

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re: Sorry High Street Bank

      As several people have already pointed out, it's not banning encryption, it's forcing the large companies to give UK gov a backdoor.

      The idea is flawed not because it will make encryption illegal, but because keeping a backdoor secret is impossible. Once it is leaked, and it will leak, everybody will have to change their encryption. How disruptive has been replacing insecure SSL/TLS. Backdoors leaking would be much worse than this!

      The government will try to make using encryption that does not include a backdoor illegal, and will demonize anybody found using such a system, probably by adding laws to the statute book so that anybody found using encryption that is not readable by the intelligence service will be deemed a terrorist, but even that idea is flawed.

      This is because, if they find a data stream or data set on a computer that they don't understand, they will immediately assume that it is obscured by a type of encryption that they've not seen before.

      "Hey, I can't make any sense of the data in this /dev/urandom file on your computer. Tell us how to decrypt it or we'll throw you in jail for three months for not revealing the key, and then consider a longer jail sentence for using an encryption method that we can't read"

      This is obviously a case to illustrate stupidity, and could be easily challenged in court. By what about seemingly random observation data from things like radio astronomy or applied physics, and if there are rules to allow this type of data to even exist on a computer, how do you prevent steganography - hiding data inside the image or other data.

      At some point, people wanting to hide things will resort to book ciphers using unpublished or even published books, which will only be decryptable by knowing the exact book that is being used, or by cataloging all texts ever written. Fortunately, despite Google's best efforts, this is something that will remain impractical for some time.

      It's a real minefield that there are no good or consistent ways of regulating.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry High Street Bank

        Better post ac for this one.

        "This is obviously a case to illustrate stupidity, and could be easily challenged in court."

        <Hypothetical situation to illustrate the race to stupid>

        Or..if you have sensitive information in your posession and they don't want it encrypted, perhaps those of us with access could just store all our working data in the cloud in the clear.

        Considering some of the information that would contain it wouldn't be long before I was in jail, were I stupid enough to try and prove a point, but I would then be a political prisoner and the costs of fixing all the stuff that leaked would run to a pretty penny.

        </Hypothetical situation to illustrate the race to stupid>

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: Sorry High Street Bank

        "The idea is flawed not because it will make encryption illegal, but because keeping a backdoor secret is impossible. "

        The NSA couldn't keep their attacks against Windows secret, and that almost took the NHS down. So at the very least I'd expect for example a backdoor that can be removed by Google, Apple, Microsoft permanently by the press of a button.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        WTF?

        "Once it is leaked, and it will leak, everybody will have to change their encryption."

        Leak? Leak?

        You don't think knowing there is a guaranteed back door into every encrypted data stream in the UK might be a bit of an incentive for, IDK every Black hat hacking crew on the whole f**king planet?

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Can we get the flags to fly at half mast for the death of freedom?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if you vote Tory on June 8th

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    If any Conservative candidate comes calling for your vote ask them if they've published all their banking, ecommerce, farcebook, twatter and other log-in credentials. When they ask why explain to them that this will be the net effect of removing encryption and you don't see why you should be asked to vote for someone who hasn't tested such a stupid policy on themselves.

    Or simply explain that forcing HMG to abandon the centuries-long presumption of innocence is a major win for terrorists who wish to destroy British values. (Make that English values dependent on your assessment of the candidate's degree of rabidness.)

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Or simply explain that forcing HMG to abandon the centuries-long presumption of innocence

      Such a thing does not exist any more in English law. Courtesy of Tony Blair. The sole place where it exists is the ECHR and this is one of the most prominent reasons for Kim Jong May wanting to remove us from it.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge

      "When they ask why explain to them that this will be the net effect of removing encryption "

      They are not removing encryption. They are requiring an ability to access the keys / data. This means that the encryption won't be as secure, but not all removed.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "They are requiring an ability to access the keys / data."

        What's the difference?

        Oh,. look, some bloke accidentally left a USB stick on the train. I wonder what's on it?

        Bah! It's a just a plain text file with lists of company names, URLs and some gobbledygook strings!

        PS, quite surprised to find my spell checker included gobbledygook!

      2. John G Imrie Silver badge

        They are not removing encryption. They are requiring an ability to access the keys / data. This means that the encryption won't be as secure, but not all removed.

        We are not removing locks, we just require you to leave a copy of the key under the mat.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "This means that the encryption won't be as secure, but not all removed."

        It won't be secure at all once it's leaked.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If any Conservative candidate comes calling for your vote ask them if they've published all their banking, ecommerce, farcebook, twatter and other log-in credentials"

      Or any Labour candidate, they tried this crap too, and it is the same party - same MP for Islington as under Blair and Brown, same MP for Hayes, same MP for Hackney, etc, etc.

      Perhaps Corbyn would be a better bet for me if he hadn't hung around with Seamus Milne ("sure Stalin did a few bad things, but look at the good things too"), or if he had behaved vaguely democratically on a key recent issue (instead of 'my constituents voted this way on the issue, but screw them, I want this instead, and am using the party whip I frequently ignored in the past to make sure my MPs don't do what their constituents want either')

      Plague on both their houses. As previous commentary nearly said, where's the likes of Screaming Lord Sutch when they're needed .....

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

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

        Two face bastards.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

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

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

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

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

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

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

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

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

            We can't let them do this.

    4. tfb Silver badge
      Flame

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

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

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As if the government had done so much...

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

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

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

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

    Hypocrites, that's all I can say.

    1. pleb

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

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

    2. MJI Silver badge

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

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

      So who is really to blame?

      They do have the information but do not use it.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

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

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

        So who is really to blame?

        They do have the information but do not use it.

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

        Discuss, then vote accordingly...

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

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

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

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

          Broadens the debate, eh?

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge
            Thumb Down

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

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

          2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

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

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

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

            1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

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

              Conspiracy is a crime in many other countries as well.

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

          3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

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

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

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

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

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

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

            Yes.

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

          5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            "Broadens the debate, eh?"

            No it doesn't.

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

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

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

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

          Discuss"

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

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    We might as well give up now then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    A Puzzle

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

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

    1. pleb

      Re: A Puzzle

      Google (UK): anti terror laws council

  13. Rol Silver badge

    There was a time.....

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

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: There was a time.....

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There was a time.....

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

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

  14. Doc Ock

    Knee, stop reacting like that you jerk.

  15. Dan 55 Silver badge

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

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

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

  16. wolfetone Silver badge

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

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

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

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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

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

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

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

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

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

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

      2. TheVogon Silver badge

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

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

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

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

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

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            "How else do corporate secure proxies work"

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

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    https://www.openrightsgroup.org/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      good idea but seriously

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Then make up your own mind and vote accordingly.

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

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

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

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

          1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

            Re: it seems to be both at the same time

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

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

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

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

          Yes, she's a hard nosed bitch.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

            Then who pays for the care of the elderly POOR?

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

          2. wolfetone Silver badge

            @TheVogon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              "It's called society"

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

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

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

              "Strikes me she's a clueless bitch."

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

            2. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

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

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

            3. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: @TheVogon

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

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

      2. Graham Cobb

        Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

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

            They can't all move to Ken Clarkes constituency.

        2. MJI Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

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

          Racist party did well, then Greens.

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

          No idea why anyone would vote UKIP.

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

          At least I will have done something I believed in.

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

        3. SundogUK

          Re: good idea but seriously

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

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: good idea but seriously

            They are a bit, but compared to May

      3. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: good idea but seriously

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

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

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

        So, who do you want to negotiate Brexit again?

      4. JamesSmith1

        Re: good idea but seriously

        That's not what 'socialism' is.

        His dream, and a human utopia, would be to cater to everybody in the aim of fairness; providing appropriate hospital and mental health treatment, cater for homelessness, eradicate poverty and ensure that you are not the victim of the mistakes of your parents.

        Aiming the trend towards the above - given the above is just a utopia - really is possible.

        His policies and the Labour manifesto mimic the Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Danish model. Those countries are NOT as you describe.

        Can you therefore explain this paradox?

        You are wrong. Go travel Scandinavia and you will resolve your prejudice.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: good idea but seriously

        How are you going to flee abroad with all your money when I've sent my boys from the council estate militia to take your passport and passed a law to seize your assets.

        Check mate bourgeoisie scum.

      6. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: good idea but seriously

        "The rich will flee abroad taking their money with them and leaving the rest of us plebs to pick up the bill."

        And if a mandatory exit tax was imposed?

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: good idea but seriously

          "And if a mandatory exit tax was imposed?"

          Unworkable, and anyway the rich will often already have their money abroad.

    2. Graham Cobb

      Yes, please do. I have paid my dues to the ORG since they were established and I used the great resources they had prepared to help me craft my carefully considered response to the Home Office consultation after they had warned us all and published it.

      Of course, as I was not invited to respond I suspect my response will be ignored, but at least ORG have brought this out into the open.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course they will

    Two weeks from an election, campaigners are promising to achieve the impossible if you vote for them.

    Nothing to see here.

  19. heyrick Silver badge

    Fuck the level of threat. Fuck encryption, or not. Fuck the Tories.

    $Person was known to police, was known to police, Was. Known. To. Police.

    Want to quell the rising anger? Sort that out. We're all getting quite sick of hearing it.

    1. WaveyDavey

      Yeah, and how's plod's manning / staffing levels holding up under Mrs WeakAndUnstable ? This happened on her watch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They all happenned on her watch. What was her job before she was PM again?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, if that's the case, why isn't most of Manchester marching on London demanding heads there for basically being complicit in a massacre? IOW, why hasn't someone taken it to its logical extreme: that the government WANTED the man to blow himself up?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Because what would that achieve?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps finally putting the fear of the people back into the government. Well, either that or proving once and for all that government of any sort is fatally flawed, forcing a total rethink of civilization in general.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Perhaps finally putting the fear of the people back into the government."

            Why do you think the government wants to spy on the people?

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              And what would that do versus a mass uprising, unless the government is willing to nuke its own cities. Which would then be the signal that civilization's pretty much over.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Perhaps you forget the mass uprisings that happenned in the first year of the coalition. They mostly descended into looting and stopped abruptly when the first couple of dozen people got arrested.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  They weren't desperate enough. Push enough of them into the "dead either way" zone and the results would differ.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    That would take a lot more than 22 bomb victims. There are 2 million people in Manchester.

                    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                      It's not the bomb victims you need to consider but the idea the government was complicit in the bombing given they were warned, specifically, multiple times. What's it going to take? Some YouTube video televising the exact time of the bombing? Heck, if you want REAL terror, I'd use that as a tactic to convey hopelessness; you know it's coming and you STILL can't stop it.

  20. frank ly

    Word

    "The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

    Is there a special word for that particular mixture of paranoia and hysteria?

    1. Emperor Zarg

      Re: Word

      Q: Is there a special word for that particular mixture of paranoia and hysteria?

      A: Psychosis

      They seem to suffer from it a lot in Whitehall.

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Word

      The word is Populism. Set up a strawman enemy to appeal to the masses.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Manifesto

    This is hardly surprising since it is in the Conservative manifesto, along with other "commitments" to take control of the internet in the UK (i.e. make it subject to UK law) and 'lead the way' internationally.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Manifesto

      That why we must vote them out on June 8th.

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Manifesto

        June should be the end of May.

  22. M7S

    So the person had been reported to the authorities....

    ...five years ago (and possibly more recently).

    It takes quite a bit of resources to keep a constant watch on someone, and even if you suspect something very troubling, if after a while nothing has materialised that is actionable then you have to consider using those resources for investigating something else that has been reported to you. Until a crime is committed there is still the presumption of innocence, otherwise you're simply advocating that we have lifelong monitoring of every person who has ever been reported to the authorities, whether that be a genuine concern or a malicious neighbour, in fact becoming the very Stasi-like state many here are complaining about.

    Given that, the authorities have a difficult balance to strike in order to deal with the massive changes in how people communicate that technology has brought about in recent years, how this can then be used by people wishing to generally do harm, and how they can protect us from such people. I'm not saying they've got it correct or are even headed along the right path, and the encryption issue does present a huge dilemma that I have very mixed views on, but they need to try and this is an early step along the way. Regrettably progress will involve making mistakes which will adversely affect people. Hopefully as the technology matures, along with the users and society's attitudes, something will develop that redresses the balance to the satisfaction of all. After all, a century after its introduction we still haven't got legislation or social attitudes that effectively protects people from the risks presented by the motorcar hurling along the highway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

      "After all, a century after its introduction we still haven't got legislation or social attitudes that effectively protects people from the risks presented by the motorcar hurling along the highway."

      After all, a century after its introduction we still haven't got legislation or social attitudes that effectively protects people from ALL the risks presented by the motorcar hurling along the highway.

      FTFY

      You can never eliminate all risks. IIRC the statistically most dangerous place is your home.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

        By what standard, though? In terms of absolute time spent (which would make sense since the most time people spend in any one place is usually at home) or risk factors relative to time spent (which changes the emphasis to how risky is any given point you're located)?

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

        You can never eliminate all risks. IIRC the statistically most dangerous place is your home.

        Well of course. Most people die when they're too weak or ill to leave home. Though hospitals and hospices are of course much more dangerous. Makes a very convenient bit of spin for those who want to play down road deaths.

        It's the inevitable outcome of a society so de-risked that many kiddies can't be allowed out on the roads because of the danger posed by someone obviously more important than them.

    2. tedleaf

      Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

      But I can assure you that it's not what happens in the "real" world.

      In 1977,aged 17, I had my first approach from our spooks wanting to recruit me because i had/have abilities that they would have loved to be able to use,I said no,and repeated saying no for the next THIETY + years,40 YEARS later,I am still under watch/monitored,they have no evidence that I have ever attempted or planned to use those abilities for my own or other people's agendas in any shape or form.the spooks etc have interfered in my life for 40 years,they have made some very strange decisions in those years..I have no proof that they have screwed my life up in revenge for daring to say no,but I guarentee,you would not like to live my life as it is now.

      I suspect lots,but can never prove very much,if any of their illegal activities or use of influence against me..

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: So the person had been reported to the authorities....

      "Until a crime is committed there is still the presumption of innocence, otherwise you're simply advocating that we have lifelong monitoring of every person who has ever been reported to the authorities"

      The Home Office attitude, as exemplified by the recent Home Sec and Prime Minister pro tem, is that (a) there is no presumption of innocence and (b) they want life long monitoring of every person irrespective of having been reported. As this results in their spreading resources too thinly they've failed all too often to pay sufficient attention to those who should have been monitored..

  23. Adam 52 Silver badge

    ...Or Labour. Although Labour promise judicial oversight they propose to keep the surveillance pretty much unchanged.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Labour is better right now then the Tory are.

      1. Fading Silver badge
        Windows

        Really?

        Labour? When last in power they were forcing through the ID card scheme? Whose leader has some rather unsavoury friends and prior associates?

        This back door to all encryption has been desired by the security services for at least the last 3 governments and whilst we should fight it tooth and nail (I will be less likely to use internet banking knowing there is a back door in the encryption) it shouldn't be considered a single party issue (only the Lib Dems seem to be fundamentally opposed but then again there were opposed to increasing tuition fees - trust is so easily lost) .

        1. Paul 195

          Re: Really?

          Actually, the security services aren't particularly concerned about backdooring encryption. If they want to see the communications of someone they are interested in, they have plenty of ways of doing it through compromising a suspect's devices. It tends to be plod and the executive who are more concerned with being able to read anyone's messages, either before or after the fact of a crime. The security services are also charged with defending the country's cyber borders, and they know that weakening encryption will ultimately make this harder to do.

          1. pleb

            Re: Really?

            @Paul 195

            So true. Powers previously given for "anti terrorism" end up used to combat fly-tipping, gaming the schools admissions system etc.

            The means necessary for government to listen in on anyone need to come at a cost such that the natural equilibrium is that they can but be deployed sparingly. A blanket ability, limited only by government fiat, will always tend towards blanket use, much as water runs downhill.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          "Labour? When last in power they were forcing through the ID card scheme?"

          Coincidently, trialled in Manchester, with the threat of pulling large Government transport infrastructure grants if the trials didn't go ahead.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          Whose leader has some rather unsavoury friends and prior associates?

          ALL politicians, no matter how clean, have "some rather unsavoury friends and prior associates". As does every one else. Even Her Majesty The Queen has friends and especially associates who've done wrong, and I believe some who've even gone to prison.

          I can guarantee that if not among your friends, then among your associates you have people who have committed crimes, some maybe serious, even if they've not been caught. For a start, there's me. Guilty of "sexual deviancy" (or however you wish to term it) including homosexual sodomy at a time when it was illegal for a start, as well as several traffic offences, a ton of "thought-crime" (some quite violent, thoughts of revenge and so on against someone who seriously hurt a loved one, and when poor and desperate some thoughts of "alternative means" to acquire money). I doubt I'm the worst here. You share a social-media platform with despicable criminals!

          The role of MP requires that someone deals with people who have been accused and even rightly convicted of wrongdoing, whether trying to right some injustice against said person or trying to find better ways of dealing with their actions so there's no further trouble.

          It is not who we associate with that tells our character, it is how we deal with the actions of those associates. If someone is about to act in a criminal manner, and you can bring them out of it in a way that does no harm, then you have helped better the lives of more than just your friend. If you instead shun your friend and let him go on to commit whatever act it was, then your friend and his victims are your victims; in protecting your character you have harmed others, and that makes you a much lesser person.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Labour is better right now then the Tory are."

        The only thing Labour are better at is frittering away other peoples money.

        1. Truckle The Uncivil

          Wasteing money

          Both sides are equally adept at frittering money. Country does not matter, politics does not matter. Politicians always piss money away.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Wasteing money

            "Both sides are equally adept at frittering money"

            You must have missed the Labour manifesto then. It's truly a masterpiece of financial squandering.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thoughts on future regulation of encryption

    1. All encrypted coms must be backdoored for security services. They can use AI to look for red flag content, use autistic pattern classifiers, profiling etc

    2. Approved services such as finance and health permitted strong encryption under license, removing chickens about appropriate privacy

    3. Deep packet inspection spots non-backdoored coms for follow up. No rolling your own.

    Why would this not "work"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

      it wont work

      1. Pat 11

        Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

        Apart from a couple of daft autocorrect errors, why?

      2. MrXavia

        Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

        It won't work, simply because if the government can do it, so can a hacker..

        Online banking, online shopping, chat programs, everything we have online needs strong encryption.

        If they outlaw encryption, I will seriously have to consider moving to another country, I doubt I would be able to continue my work without strong encryption,

        I expect the whole IT sector would collapse without strong encryption, and everything that depends on IT will also collapse...

        So ban encryption = destroy the economy

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

      'Why would this not "work"?'

      Just off the top of my head...

      1. Backdoors

      i) The security services will leak the backdoors (couldn't keep EternalBlue secret, could they?) exposing everyone's data

      ii) The AI will produce high numbers of false positives that occupy the investigator's time

      2. Approved services

      i) lucrative market in stolen strong encryption licenses created

      ii) thefts of vital IT equipment from hospitals increase as that will be the easiest source of strong encryption

      3. Deep packet inspection

      i) steganography

      1. Pat 11

        Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

        1i - tough, it not your taxes, cancer, depression and it helps us stop tewwists, suck it up

        1ii - that's an empirical question, you might or might not be right, but things like support vector machines are pretty handy

        2i & ii - hard wired endpoint based license. Your blagged banking server will only work on Barclay's ips, aything else gets a red flag

        3 - Always an option but this is about encryption

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

          1ii. Only at first. Don't forget these machines learn as we do, unless you can prove ANY learning system can be gamed. Otherwise, it'll simply improve over time. Like DeepMind AlphaGo. And who said a computer can't learn to beat a human at Go...

          2. But you have to wonder if someone would be resourceful enough to hijack someone's IP to defeat IP-based security.

          3. If you enforce a strict media formatting regime, you can mangle and control stego enough to reduce it to a crawl such that any attempt to force it causes it to stand out.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

            "Otherwise, it'll simply improve over time."

            By what metric? The benefit of a computer playing Go, Chess, etc is that while the game is famously complex with incredible numbers of permutations, the rules are clearly defined, the objective that must be achieved to win is also fairly clearly defined (take/trap the King, etc). All a learning machine needs is to have a sufficient number of games to figure out the best way to get from a known starting position to a desired winning end when playing an opponent whose exact moves cannot be entirely predicted in advance. That's the skill, responding to a "random" behaviour of the human player to keep the best advantage (which probably requires tracking player moves to work out what the human is attempting to do).

            Now let's turn our attention to a learning system for spotting terrorists. There's no defined starting situation. There's no defined end game. There's no defined list of behaviours that may occur in a message in order to indicate terrorist activity. "Don't forget to put the cake in to bake at three o'clock this evening" posted on Mumsnet could be a message from one scumbag to another - they're hardly going to say "Westminster, 3pm, bang" are they? So... We don't exactly have a start or an end or even a middle. Good luck getting a machine to "learn" that.

        2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

          Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

          @Pat 11:

          1i - That's not a counter-argument, that's just saying we'd be *really* screwed!

          1ii - How about proving the technology works before making it a cornerstone of the anti-terror strategy?

          2i & ii - Terrorists with jobs in finance and healthcare continue using strong encryption (you're not going to force Barclays to get a new license every time they move a server, are you?), corrupt license issuer staff sell dodgy licenses, or sneak extra IP addresses onto genuine licenses.

          There's probably possible countermeasures for those ideas too, but the added complexity will make it even more cumbersome, and introduce bugs.

          3 - steganography to hide the strong encryption. Say, embed your strongly encrypted material in a live stream of your home security camera (extra irony points for pointing the camera at your back door), and wrap that in the government-approved backdoored encryption. Even if the security services figure out what is going on and capture an endpoint, they won't have the keys to decrypt the strong encryption for other endpoints.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

            "3 - steganography to hide the strong encryption. Say, embed your strongly encrypted material in a live stream of your home security camera (extra irony points for pointing the camera at your back door), and wrap that in the government-approved backdoored encryption. Even if the security services figure out what is going on and capture an endpoint, they won't have the keys to decrypt the strong encryption for other endpoints."

            There are still ways to deal with something like that. If the algorithm used is too aggressive, then anything you embed in the picture will get mangled. If you force the streams to get sanitized of metadata, it'll be tricky to hide anything there without it setting off alarm bells. Even if they can't decode it, if they can just detect it in a world where unsanctioned encryption and/or steganography is outlawed, it can get pretty dicey.

            1. bobblestiltskin

              Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

              Even if they can't decode it, if they can just detect it in a world where unsanctioned encryption and/or steganography is outlawed

              It would be possible to hide the data - all data is just a stream of ones and zeros. The interpretation of said data stream is done by the application.

              Do you really think that we have the resources to scan all data streams in real time?

              If steganography were outlawed, I do not imagine for a second that bad actors would actually obey this law.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: thoughts on future regulation of encryption

      " No rolling your own."

      That, of course, would be illegal. And people already hell-bent on breaking old laws will shy away from breaking new ones. I can't quite put my finger on it but I get a sneaking suspicion that there might be something wrong with that line of thinking.

  25. Andy 97

    I'm reminded of that scene in Blazing Saddles where The Governor demands a "huurumph" from those in the room to protect their phoney-baloney jobs.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTmfwklFM-M

    I wrote my MP about this and received a "stock" answer.

    The problem (as stated many times above) is politicians do NOT understand the world we all live within and they don't want to either.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well..

    People with good memories may see some disclosure here. It can't be helped - this matter is too important to leave lying on the floor as it will continue to be revived by the both clueless and the deceptive. Can't locate my login right now, but my name is clearly in the article.

    As I said in multiple articles, we have already seen the consequences of weak crypto, or backdoors into the mechanisms that are supposed to protect us - as a matter of fact, one of these examples is even still raging around the world as we speak. So, let me repeat myself from just one of the publications*:

    WannaCry is a government backdoor case study

    As irony would have it, we now have a near perfect case study of what would happen if government mandated backdoors were to become law and criminals subsequently gained access to it. Current events demonstrate with precision the risk security professionals warn against:

    1 - The NSA developed such a backdoor (generously funded by the US tax payer);

    2 - There are so many people working for such an agency with different political views and motivations that leaking was all but inevitable;

    3 - Once leaked, it provided a handy framework for criminals to tack on some malware.

    And presto, pandemonium ensued. At the time of writing, the problem has reached 150+ countries and in the UK it knocked healthcare for six**.

    It is also worth noting that this particular backdoor was kept at what one would assume to be the best protected government facility in the country, and it still leaked.

    QED, methinks..

    Peter Houppermans

    * I just realised I sinned against my standard of avoiding expressions that only have meaning in certain regions. For those who do not understand cricket, "knocking for six" is best explained here. My apologies :).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well..

      "It is also worth noting that this particular backdoor was kept at what one would assume to be the best protected government facility in the country, and it still leaked."

      Assuming, of course, it wasn't intentionally leaked, given we didn't hear much about pandemonium within the US government. If secrets were to have been stolen from say the US military, THEN I'd be more inclined to believe it was an accident.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Well..

        The company I work for didn't get affected by Wannacrypt, at all.

        Obviously we were the ones behind it... (not)

  27. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    King Canute can legislate for the tide to stay out, but his feet will still get wet...

    What these idiots are asking for is technologically impossible without breaking the way the internet works for anything practical (i.e. SSL). Trying to unilaterally impose your own ideas on a global structure like the internet, by the means for nationally-scoped legislation is also doomed to failure, for pretty obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "King Canute can legislate for the tide to stay out, but his feet will still get wet..."

      Which was precisely the point he was making for his sycophantic courtiers who told him he could do anything.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Which was precisely the point he was making for his sycophantic courtiers who told him he could do anything.

        A point well made. He is remembered as the idiot who tried to control the tides, rather than the guy using a metaphor to explain that there are things you cannot control.

        Sadly, morons don't understand metaphor, but they still get a vote.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Sadly, morons don't understand metaphor, but they still get a vote."

          More of them might read the story if headline called him Cnut, though?

          (Yes, I know probably should be a K', etc etc)

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
            Joke

            Bloody Vikings

            Coming over here, colonising Norfolk.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Bloody Vikings

              Coming over here, colonising Norfolk.

              Actually, that was mostly the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Cnut got his job as cyngge of Englalnd largely because he managed to get together a big enough fleet[1] to invade[2] (landing in Wessex) which proceeded up the east side of England, crossed over to Northumberland and then came back down the eastern side to beseige London.

              There were various battles, treacheries and quiet murders[3] and Cnut became king.

              [1] He was supposed to become king of the Danlaw (ie the bits of Northern England that the Vikings had conquered but the English Witanegemot decided that would rather have a Saxon king of all England. So Cnut ran away back to Denmark. He then formed alliances with a number of kings & Dukes (including the Duke of Poland) and invaded England.

              [2] He did visit Sandwich, but left and eventually invaded via the mouth of the River Frome, in Somerset. He quickly took Wessex, persuaded Mercia to join him as well as the Jarl of Yorvik.

              [3] Including (probably) the guy (Edmond Ironside) who the eldest son of the guy that the Witanegemot had eventually settled on as king.After which, Cnut was offered the kingship

              Can you tell I like history?

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Bloody Vikings

                "Can you tell I like history?"

                Yes but I think you mean he proceeded up the west side of England and also I think Norfolk was also part of the Danelaw - at least as originally constituted. Didn't Alfred cede more or less everything NE of Watling St?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    couldn't get a better excuse, eh?

    think of the children, and all that :/

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no place for terrorists to hide

    as usual, first they came for the terrorists

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: no place for terrorists to hide

      Yes, but then I was not speaking up for the terrorists through deliberate choice not apathy!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no place for terrorists to hide

        well the point of that poem was that its wording was deliberately vague to include those that turned their gaze away - for whatever reason, indifference, fear, opposition. This is the whole point, as the noose tightens, the terms of what is "terrorism" are re-written by those tightening the noose, ironically, terrorising those left out of the noose to keep shtum. Until their turn.

  30. Big_Ted

    Have no problem with this at al IF . . . .

    Cant see any problem with this as long as everyone who votes for this in parliament also agree to open their comunications to anyone who wants to look, they can have the ability to block secret government comms etc but that needs to be agrred first by a citizen council of those opposed to the law.

    Otherwise they can go and stick their law where the sun don't shine.

    These people really need to be told that a back door will be broken into by the bad guys and their data etc will also be available to all so vote for this and start following the law and dump the lovers etc . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have no problem with this at al IF . . . .

      IIRC Didn't MPs insert a clause that says their internet access is excluded from surveillance?

      1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Have no problem with this at al IF . . . .

        "IIRC Didn't MPs insert a clause that says their internet access is excluded from surveillance?"

        They did indeed.

        Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/investigatory-powers-bill-a7447781.html

        They also promised us that they had no interest in the content of communications, merely the meta-data. Interestingly, there was also a "sunset clause" intended to deregulate at the end of 2016. Instead, all we actually see is more data harvesting and greater surveillance week by week.

        Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28245589

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    once this legislation is in place...

    it will only be necessary to make it illegal to download, possess and install such terrorist software, and the children are safe!

  32. Emperor Zarg
    Go

    Vote: El Reg

    Is it too late to form the El Reg party before the upcoming General Election? A lot of eminently sensible and intelligent comments here and, I sense, a desire to genuinely improve the lot of the country.

    I'd vote for you!

  33. kryptonaut
    1. Thoguht Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: She is watching you

      And you expect me to click on that link? How do I know that Windows gif libraries haven't been already been backdoored?

      And I'm fresh out of tinfoil, too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: She is watching you

        If you're THAT paranoid, what's to say there isn't a secret backdoor hidden in NOTEPAD that lets them pwn you with a TEXT FILE? Or that there isn't some secret backdoor in your CPU that no one's capable of defeating or even blocking because it's down to the damned silicon?

        If you're THAT paranoid, you might as well go all-Luddite and hide out in a cabin in the mountains...oh wait, there's the satellites to worry about now...

      2. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: She is watching you

        "And you expect me to click on that link?"

        I did it on an old phone.

        It's the Big Screen bit from 1984 edited so that Big Brother's face changes to become May, then back to Big Brother.

        It's surprisingly effective.

  34. The_H

    Unfortunately Rudd 'n' May just don't understand encryption.

    So let's assume the law is passed, backdoors inserted, and messages decrypted. Your freshly exposed cleartext message reads "Just off to the shops, I've got the list, I'll pick up a curry on the way back, anything else you want?"

    You tell me if that's an innocent probationary co-hab off to Asda, or a coded message meaning something a lot more sinister.

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      "You tell me if that's an innocent probationary co-hab off to Asda, or a coded message meaning something a lot more sinister."

      That will depend entirely on whether the Government want to get you or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Also, to make a code like that work, you'd have to have MET first (First Contact Problem). Think about all the CAMERAS.

        UNLESS you can demonstrate an effective ZERO-KNOWLEDGE code?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "UNLESS you can demonstrate an effective ZERO-KNOWLEDGE code?"

          A twice solved problem. Diffie-Helman. Public key encryption.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Nope, not in terms of a "hidden in plain sight" zero-knowledge system. Can you come up with a code-word system that doesn't require the other side to know what it is yet can be hidden in plain sight, not necessarily in steganography but like a message that looks like any other innocuous message (In other words, can you use a "Happy Birthday" message to tell others what to do even though they've never met before to establish a common code yet?).

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      You tell me if that's an innocent probationary co-hab off to Asda, or a coded message meaning something a lot more sinister.

      Indeed. People have been using things like codewords and one-time-pad encryption for a lot longer than computers have been around..

  35. marcxm

    Pure nonsense. UK is heading into disaster.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only if we dont vote the Tory out on June 8th

  36. ni!

    Do they get the difference between encrypted data and encrypted communications? Still not sure how I feel about this subject, but they don't need to backdoor https as an example - this is just a tunnel that ends at the web tier. Surely they can just provide access to the data in the back end without breaking anything. It's just a systems design change to store pictures of cats unencryped. We effective do this all the time on layer7 firewalls with https termination.

    None of this will however stop pier to pier encryption as pointed out by an earlier poster

    1. TRT Silver badge

      pier to pier encryption

      So all you have to do is focus your hunt for terrorists to places like Brighton, Southend, Blackpool etc.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      "None of this will however stop pier to pier encryption as pointed out by an earlier poster"

      But it could make it easier to detect, especially combined with steganography countermeasures like image mangling and text sanitizing.

  37. Paul 195

    All this a week after the NHS was crippled by a cyber attack. Obviously "wannacry" is not connected directly to the use of encryption or otherwise, but anything that weakens encryption for storage of data, credentials, etc, expands the attack surface for bad guys to exploit.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Obviously "wannacry" is not connected directly to the use of encryption or otherwise"

      What it is directly connected to is the inability of TPTB to keep things secret and things they'd need to keep secret include the backdoor key.

  38. TRT Silver badge

    There's a lot of chatter on here about weakening encryption...

    but, thinking it through out loud here, I suspect that any legislation will be along the lines of:

    It will be prohibited for any software, hardware or other digital computer mechanism to be supplied for use within the UK (excepting where such sale or supply has taken place under a contract approved by the home secretary) whereby such mechanism is either i) designed to prevent or ii) coincidentally through the manner of its operation prevent, compliance with requests from the security services of the UK, made under warrant, for the supply of human readable information processed, transmitted or otherwise handled by said mechanism.

    The practical upshot of this will be some means of having the software return whatever key can be used to decrypt any message or transaction, probably itself in an encrypted form, along with that transaction, to be stripped off and stored at whatever intermediary server it passes through before it is relayed to the end point. Of course, due to territorial limitations on statutes, an asymmetric key used to encrypt a reply to an actor outside the UK would not necessarily have the corresponding private key sent with the reply, so presumably the client end would have to be designed to create a second, encrypted using the vendor's public key or the now known keys of the sender, version of the message to leave at the interception point.

    Next would be a test case brought where software was bought or obtained overseas and brought in on a phone purchased outside the UK's legislative territory. So the legislation would be rewritten to prohibit the USE of a mechanism falling under that definition.

    Then there would be a test case of a company that only triggered the "key leaking" routines of their software AFTER a surveillance warrant was issued for a subject. Packet inspection of the transmitted messages would then reveal the extra payload and flag up that the surveilled was on a warranted watch list.

    The legislation would then mutate again such that either the storage of and supply of the data was warehoused until a warrant was issued, OR that the mechanism employed to ensure compliance with the act was undetectable to the sender or recipient, so dummy padding out of the payload.

    And then it all becomes so messy that people will just hang up the lot of it, get fed up and ... do what? Anyway, it's ALL WRONG, May. Just forget it.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Gimp

      " I suspect that any legislation will be along the lines of:"

      The legislation already exists. It's called RIPA. However it needs a "Technical Capability Notice" to be approved by Parliament. As described here The text of the draft is here

      IOW a form of "Statutory Instrument," much beloved tool of the Dark Lord Mandelscum.

      Note. Both house of Parliament have to approve it. Since it requires critical thinking skills (not something you see a lot of in politicians) to realize what errant BS.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: " I suspect that any legislation will be along the lines of:"

        Note. Both house of Parliament have to approve it. Since it requires critical thinking skills (not something you see a lot of in politicians) to realize what errant BS.

        Just possible in Their Lordships' house. But the most likely place to find it is in the EU Parliament, perhaps due in some measure to the much lesser importance of party politics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " I suspect that any legislation will be along the lines of:"

          Which us why we have to leave the evil EU immediately, to stop them meddling in the new order, whete people like Suzanne Evans will be free to go on national television and suggest that just because someone's parents are immigrants, their son should have been watched at all times.

          Wait, she did that yesterday, and while there were obviously a lot of other reasons why that should have been done, but she focussed purely on the fact that his parents are from somewhere else.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: "Technical Capability Notice" to be approved by Parliament

        Oh yes, so it does. The bastards. Utterly, utterly ludicrous.

  39. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Why, Britain... from an outside perspective it starts to look like you're getting ready to give fascism a try at last, after you've missed out in the 1930ies.

    Don't. Not worth it.

    1. M7S
      Coat

      "after you've missed out in the 1930ies."

      As with the plague, renaissance and remodelling the road network in our capital city we've always been a bit behind in following those continental fads.

      Surely trying this would prove to the Shoreditch luvvies that in fact we've reconsidered and are now terribly cosmopolitan remainers at heart?

      The long black one. Yes, its leather. No, I'm not sure from which particular mammal.

  40. Tim Jenkins

    Yay; no more DRM

    "The requirement for companies to remove "electronic protection applied to ... any communications or data" was written into the Investigatory Powers Act last year"

    Excellent: that should make all those DVDs so much easier to, uh, 'back up', not to mention the output from my Sky Q box. Oh, and the pesky encryption on the Sports and Movie channels too...

  41. tokyo-octopus

    Am I the only one wondering what a Japanese commuter train (looks like the Saikyo line in Tokyo, if anyone's taking notes) has got to do with encryption back doors?

  42. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Looks like

    I'm off to jail for writing a program that uses public/private key encryption, then sharing it with a a friend

    We put up with the the IRA without this level of intrusion, hell we even fought off a bunch of facist nutters for 6 years then dumped all the regulations involved the day after we won....

    A few extremist nutters are not goign to be that much of a threat... especially if they are ALREADY known to the security services......

    And I'm not going to mention the guys who sent tip offs to the police hotline saying "Hey this guy is a nutter"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Looks like

      "A few extremist nutters are not goign to be that much of a threat... especially if they are ALREADY known to the security services......"

      You sure about that? Are you sure one man can't ruin civilization all by himself at this point? At least the IRA only had one country in mind; they weren't omnicidal maniacs like some people.

  43. Frank N. Stein

    Indeed. And now, the UK Gov indicated that they will stop sharing Intel with USA Gov Agencies, over concerns of UK Gov intel being "Leaked to the Press". Really? Guess they don't want anyone to know how they're using this Terror Attack as an excuse to attempt to force USA based Social Media firms to create Encryption Back Doors. Why doesn't the UK Gov just talk to their NSA buddies, who have a back door into the Internet Backbone, itself? The NSA has had that back door into the Internet Backbone since 9/11. It's a bit too coincidental that as soon as a Terror Attack happens, suddenly, the Gov calls for Encryption Backdoors that wouldn't have prevented this from happening. Internet Backbone Tap, from the NSA to Your Gov negates the need for an encryption backdoor. By the way, once that backdoor exists, the Gov's won't be the only ones able to access it, which is the point of not doing it, in the first place.

  44. sebt
    FAIL

    Can't say I'm surprised

    Terrorist attack? Followed within days by idiotic government reaction, with the implication that if you just shut up and do what they say then they can prevent this ever happening again. As night follows day.

    I'd call it a kneejerk reaction, if it was. What it in fact is is the habit of governments to use anything, whatever it might be, as an excuse to ram through more, unjustified increases in their power.

    1. billse10

      Re: Can't say I'm surprised

      "I'd call it a kneejerk reaction"

      Might i suggest that "knee" is not needed here?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Morrissey is Right!

    By this time, most of us are familiar with the Manchester terrorist attack at a concert. But here is something: "Manchester Attack: What They’re NOT Telling You".

    <https://youtu.be/v4vWR5BpDdQ>

    Excerpt: “Which do we value more? Protecting the feelings of Muslims or protecting our children from being blown up?”

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Mike Richards

    Typical Home Office

    They have a whole bunch of proposals waiting for the necessary atrocity so they can be rammed through the Commons 'to protect the kiddies'. No matter that there's zero evidence that encryption played any part in the Manchester atrocity.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In regards to Manchester...

    I couldn't help notice all those snooping laws the government passed over the last year really paid off.

  49. PickledAardvark

    A Level Chemistry

    To build that bomb, A Level Chemistry is enough. TATP is nasty stuff, easy to make, more difficult to make in quantity and stably. If you tried to make the stuff alone, sufficient for a big bomb, you'd slip up quickly and make a small fatal explosion; your neighbours would hopefully be alive, looking for a new house. A team of diligent people could make enough for a bomb.

    A Level Physics or a bit of electronics messing around provides enough education to make a detonator and trigger.

    ** I've just explained how a bomb might be built in 1992, before politicians even thought about the internet and encryption. **

    Add a bit of project management -- easier if you have motivated people -- and this bunch pulled it off. It required many people, however.

    ** But they could have planned it privately. No need for internet. **

    To buy bomb supplies without looking like a bomb maker takes planning; you don't sign up for an account at the local chemical supplies firm with an order for concentrated peroxide and acetone for your family beauticians shop. It was a lot easier to buy bomb making material in 1992; the IRA didn't mess around with nasty TATP.

    This is a serious problem which does not need a knee jerk response.

    There should be no response. That man didn't need the internet to make the weapon which killed so many.

  50. Paul 164

    Wondered how long it would be before they started trying to really push that through!

  51. JaitcH
    FAIL

    Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

    The loss of life at the hands of Freedom Fighters/Terrorists is to be regretted and this last weeks tragic loss of life is made all the worse due to the victims young ages.

    Encrypted communications would have done little to prevent this from happening, especially since it appears the man had just returned from his ancestral country of Libya. The device was TRIGGERED BY HAND.

    The fact is that notwithstanding pouring BILLIONS OF POUNDS into to MI5, GCHQ and the Plod, all we have to show for it is some historical video tape and a list of To Visit addresses. The head of MI5, the prime minister (former Home Secretary for years) and the present loon who calls herself Home Secretary should RESIGN. The explosion is testimony to their abject failure.

    Why, pray tell, did the Plod go calling AFTER the event? Other jurisdictions go a-calling on a regular basis just to let their potential clients know they are under observation.

    And most anything the government proposes will fail - which, again, the incident attests to.

    I work for a company who designs military equipment for non-aligned (read not American) countries and I can attest to how easy it is to make IEDs, triggers, etc. The average supermarket has all I need to make a loud bang.

    Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP), made from explosive forms of acetone peroxide, belong to the few high explosives that do not contain nitrogen (think fertilizer), and so can pass undetected through most sniffer devices. TATP is easily made, with extreme care, following visits to your local chemist/drug store/pharmacy, and the ironmongers/hardware store.

    When I was in the British military, we were taught how to make explosive mixtures from common household chemicals (cleansers, polishes, etc). I know how to make anyone in a decent sized room with a lamp (one of those things with a filament) and a common fuel imitate John Clease's famous parrot.

    The much vaunted British security services haven't progressed much since 2005 July 7. Stopping encryption is not the answer, as the first explosion after such a ban will prove.

    1. PickledAardvark

      Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

      It is significant that whilst "The device was TRIGGERED BY HAND", the bunch who made the bomb ensured that the bomber didn't burn his hand.

      He didn't get burned on his fingers. He might have let go after an electric shock, so the bombers added an electronic switch.

      "Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP), made from explosive forms of acetone peroxide, belong to the few high explosives that do not contain nitrogen (think fertilizer), and so can pass undetected through most sniffer devices."

      Owing to chemical purchase difficulties, TATP made in the UK is always impure. Airport scanners can spot TATP bombs from a distance. They stink of ammonia. When TATP reacts with the air, bombers become smelly.

      It is hard to create a detonator for an airport bomb which does not leak nitrogen. Thankfully, that makes it possible for traditional airport scanners to work.

      "TATP is easily made, with extreme care, following visits to your local chemist/drug store/pharmacy, and the ironmongers/hardware store."

      Easier than MDMA but really stupid.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

        That seems somewhat uncalled for. Jaitch has a reputation here and doesn't hide behind an Anonymous username. On first inspection his English is better than yours, certainly more erudite; although criticising someone for not speaking English as a first language​ does make you seem a little racist.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

          Thank you Adam 52.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

        The loss of life at the hands of Freedom Fighters/Terrorists is to be regretted and this last weeks tragic loss of life is made all the worse due to the victims young ages.

        JaitcH - why are you defending the attack that just killed 22 people??

        "Freedom Fighters" makes them seem justified, and using passive voice is trying to make it sound neutral.

    3. William Old

      Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

      Why, pray tell, did the Plod go calling AFTER the event? Other jurisdictions go a-calling on a regular basis just to let their potential clients know they are under observation.

      Because this Government has slashed their numbers by 16,000 and cut probationer pay by over £4,000/year in the last few years. In many forces a probationer police officer earns less than the manager of a branch of McDonalds yet (with respect to all McDonalds managers) the former is hugely more demanding. Dialled 999 for police in an emergency recently? Just how long did you have to wait for someone to arrive? Ever wondered why?

      About 10 years ago, Home Office ministers in England and Wales set up the "Senior Careers Advisory Service" because they were concerned that the brightest police officers in the superintending ranks weren't applying for Chief Offer posts and they wanted to know why not. It didn't occur to them that those very officers were the ones who could plainly see that political interference with policing made those roles far less attractive than being Captain on the Titanic, and they were voting with their feet. Now, the situation is desperate, and so few serving officers are interested in trying to run a half-decent policing service with nearly half of the revenue budget of ten years ago - but with huge increases in policig demands - that Chief Officer posts are being advertised overseas to poor sods who don't know any better and might be daft enough to apply.

      The technical term for such HR policies is "desperation".

    4. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Politicians - technically ignorant at best.

      Stopping encryption is not the answer, as the first explosion after such a ban will prove.

      Look for lots of "Police acting under new anti-terror laws foil yet another terrorist plot. Officers in London were able to foil yet another ISIS plot intended to destroy the British way of life. This is the 3 millionth time that the police have been able to prevent terrorism since the act was passed into law last Thursday..."

      You get the idea...

      Not that I have any doubts about articles on how many terrorist plots have been stopped. No, I'm sure the details leaked to the press is plenty enough proof that such events really did happen!

  52. Paul

    repeat after me: "there's only two choices, secure for everybody, or insecure for everybody"

  53. This post has been deleted by its author

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a.....

    Really, Really REALLY FUCKING STUPID IDEA.

    let’s make us ALL much less safer by creating legislation that would have done FUCK ALL to prevent what happened.

    Knee-jerk, uneducated, technically-backward WANKERS!!!

  55. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Am I Paranoid Enough?
    Trollface

    V

    I suppose he's started on his prep.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL

    Here's what needs to happen...

    UK passes said laws...

    The next day, Facebook says... "hmm, ok so we can't service the UK without breaking their encryption laws..."

    All UK citizens wake up to a big blue page when they try to visit Facebook that says something to the effect of "UK Citizens, you're government has decided that we can't protect our services without breaking UK laws. This means we can no longer provide you service. Maybe you should discuss this with your governors."

    <Disconnected>

    How long do you think it would take to either see all involved law makers impeached OR to see the H.o.P. on fire on CNN?

    I bet it wouldn't even take a day (and I doubt any law makers would attempt something so idiotic again).

    You're welcome,

    Merica!

  58. YARR
    Boffin

    Banning encryption is unenforceable

    Data = information + meaning.

    Even when there is a known encoding / file format / encryption algo, the data itself can still be meaningless / random. Unless they make it illegal to store or transmit meaningless / random data, how can you enforce a law banning encryption? How can they prove that your data must have a hidden meaning and is not just random?

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Banning encryption is unenforceable

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganalysis

    2. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Banning encryption is unenforceable

      information = Data + meaning, surely?

      Data: 2,3,5

      Meaning: You've just been insulted 3 times, in American, British and Roman fashion

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Banning encryption is unenforceable

      Agree entirely with main points, although as with previous commentator, would question first part slightly?

      Information = data + (context, meaning, lookup table/crib sheet/one time pad, etc)

      What 'they' need to do is prove the information links you to a crime, which means finding the crib sheet, or deducing/decoding it. If decided, that may involve "sources and methods" not suitable for open court, but the UK already has a mechanism for that - no new laws needed.

      Where new laws are needed is if the politicians think that the power to issue surveillance warrants is too important to be left to a semi-independent judiciary, who might ask awkward questions such as "why do you want to do this, on what evidence?" and who won't simply issue blanket warrants in the wake of an incident, a 'newspaper' headline, or a slip in the polls. If 'they', in fact, regard the legal system, with its pesky checks and balances, as part of the problem.

  59. tfb Silver badge
    Alert

    Plugins

    So when the inevitable happens and they make encrypted messaging apps illegal, this is what someone should do:

    Write a simple unencrypted messaging app. Something like IRC, but with much better support for phones and other modern devices than IRC clients typically have. Such a thing is clearly legal.

    Provide it with a plugin API which lets you write extensions for it in, say, JavaScript or (better) Python, with an embedded JS/Python interpreter & runtime. This is already done by several apps (I have at least a couple) and is clearly both legal and satisfies the various App Store limitations. It should be possible to install these plugins from uncontrolled locations or write your own: again, this is already done by several apps and is clearly just fine.

    Sit back and wait. Oh, look, someone has written a plugin which supports end-to-end encryption over the app's connections, how odd, no-one could have predicted such a thing, right?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Plugins

      Simple answer: forbid unsanctioned add-ons under penalty of not being allowed to operate in the country: regulating apps and industries ARE within the government's remit; see the Uber controversy.

      1. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Plugins

        So what you're actually saying is that the answer is to forbid general-purpose programmable computers.

        That's right: that is the answer.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Plugins

          You may actually be onto something. Why else do the movie companies NOT allow 4K BluRays to be played on computers, ONLY on purpose-built, secured-from-end-to-end dedicated players?

          Perhaps the next step is that all computers will be considered dangerous devices requiring registration the same way cars are. And all software firms and programmers will likely have to sign legal oaths and probably even post surety bonds.

          1. tfb Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: Plugins

            It does worry me that this is the sort of answer we are heading for. Yes, there will be no bad terrorists talking secretly to each other, but on the other hand we'll be living in some kind of medieval world of mud, pigshit and lice, dying of the flux while the politicians live in their castles surrounded by groves of impaled serfs. I am looking forward to this.

            (Actually, what really worries me is that, quite clearly, we are now living in a world which our politicians simply are not equipped to understand and, worse, which they don't understand they don't understand). I don't mean Trump, who clearly would have been out of his depth in the stone age, but superficially well-educated people: people with PPE degrees from good universities. We live in a world where science, engineering and in this case maths, are critical, and they not only don't have the background or facility to make sense of these things, they *don't know they haven't got it*. So they propose laws which amount to declaring that pi is 3 or something, and we're all fucked as a result. I'm not suggesting a revolution by scientists, engineers and mathematicians (I'm two of these things and I would be a profoundly terrible politician), but we need to get to a state where the people we elect are at least competent to deal with the world we live in, and we are not in that state now.)

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Plugins

              Two problems:

              One, the qualifications for being a politician are essentially at odds with the qualifications for being in the sciences. The latter requires a relatively objective look at things while the former is almost entirely SUBjective, owing to the fact politicians essentially are playing with other people. Essentially, in general, great scientists make poor politicians and vice versa.

              Two, it goes to the general population. The average person doesn't want to know this stuff. They just want to get through their day, enjoy themselves afterward, have the occasional day off, and repeat ad nauseum. Worse, any attempt to install an academic or some other meritocratic qualification for being an actual citizen WILL (not may) get corrupted in some way.

              Frankly, you have to wonder if the human race really is cut out for this kind of civilization.

          2. adam 40 Bronze badge

            Re: Plugins

            >> Perhaps the next step is that all computers will be considered dangerous devices requiring registration the same way cars are. And all software firms and programmers will likely have to sign legal oaths and probably even post surety bonds. <<

            What about electronics engineers? Some of us still know how computers actually work, and can build our own.

  60. Andrew Jones 2

    And just as I suspected would happen as soon as the future was threatened by a clueless Government, work is progressing quickly on a decentralised internet using Blockchain tech. Snoop on that UK Gov, when you stop playing fair - people will just take your tools away.

  61. Andrew Jones 2

    Out of purely hypothetical interest -

    If someone created an online shop or forum, and stored all user data in plain text and had no HTTPS on the website and some 10K records were stolen from it by hackers, then presumably when the ICO tried to fine you for data breaches you could simply say - sorry - it was not possible to comply with any your rules because the Government made it illegal, so feel free to pass the bill on to them.

  62. mc nobby
    Unhappy

    you just can't have it both ways

    These people in power are moronic.

    You can't have it both ways. You can't have your failing health system not get compromised by ransomware because there are , flaws, bugs or back doors in code that runs that.

    And by the same token have a back door or no encryption on all other data transmission

    The two are mutually exclusive. The IT industry is wasting it's time securing systems, if the idiots in bower come along and demand that they be insecure

    Do we need a "if your a terrorist please download this insecure version of whatsapp, but if your a white christian please download this secure version"

  63. John Savard Silver badge

    Neither Facebook nor Google is the NSA. If I put stuff on my Facebook page, obviously Facebook has to be able to display it on that page in a decrypted manner. A smartphone needs a backdoor for the government to read everything in it. A social media site doesn't.

    Of course, that's probably just my failure to understand the issues discussed in this article.

    I think it is reasonable for the government to prohibit Internet businesses from making it convenient for jihadis to communicate covertly, at least if they're handling messages in cleartext. Of course banning people from encrypting their own communications is intrusive legislation to be avoided; but it's not clear that anyone is actually proposing that all E-mail services scan every E-mail to ensure no encrypted text has been cut and pasted into E-mails, or anything like that.

    Facebook doesn't supply encryption products, even if it might encrypt data for other people. Anyone who expects a third party that encrypts data for others to keep it secret from police investigations - or even for them to insist on a warrant before handing it over - is not only unrealistic, but wrongheaded. Companies, as good citizens, should be eager to help find terrorists or pedophiles or whatever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "A smartphone needs a backdoor for the government to read everything in it. "

      No, it really doesn't. There are these things called courts, they have judges, who issue warrants when there is evidence. Unless you believe judges are the Enemies of the People.

    2. William 3 Bronze badge

      Mate, you're on a loser with common sense like that.

      This place is full of people more concerned about the feelings of the "community" where terrorism is allowed to thrive then the feelings of the 22 sets of parents and families burying their dead after the wake of Manchester.

      Look at Andy Burnham, saying "nothing to do with Islam", despite all the evidence contrary. He's more concerned about getting their votes than young children being shredded with shrapnel because they follow a religion borne from bloodshed.

      The narrative that "islam is peaceful" when it was started by a murderous slave owning paedophile to raise an army to conquer Mecca is fucking disgraceful. Maybe you Guardian readers should read an actual history books for once in your life, rather than listen to propaganda of the Marxist echo chamber who are using Islam to destroy the idea of the nation state so they can seize control. Maybe if you read enough history, you'd realise this isn't nonsense talk. But alas, you're doomed to repeat the same mistakes that history should have taught you.

      Of course you're not allowed to speak about historical facts like that. They couldn't call it Blasphemy as that would be too fucking obvious, instead they pretend it's "racism", or "Islamaphobia".

      It's tragic when you're more concerned with not insulting a made up God rather than protecting innocent children from being slaughtered in the name of that made up God.

      If you wan to protect the terrorists, I challenge you to explain to the grieving families from Manchester exactly why they should listen to sanctimonious twat virtue signal their moral fucking superiority.

      Good luck with that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The narrative that "islam is peaceful" when it was started by a murderous slave owning paedophile to raise an army to conquer Mecca is fucking disgraceful."

        And the Torah talks about the time the Israelites stormed and fell the city of Jericho. We're talking the "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" God of the Jews, remember?

        Heck, not even Jesus was immune to the odd tantrum. Recall the moneychangers?

    3. Kiwi Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Companies, as good citizens, should be eager to uphold the rule of law.

      FTFY.

      A good citizen generally obeys the law (unless some greater law is at work, eg those hiding Jews during WWII - law was "turn them over" but good citizens protected them). So a company being a "good citizen" would not hand over data unless there is an appropriate warrant that in itself complies with the rule of law (because of police/prosecutors don't uphold the law, why should any one else?). When Mr Plod hands a warrant over to a company for someone's data, that company should check first that the warrant is legitimate, and refuse to honour it if it isn't. Refusing to take part in illegal activities (even if done with best intentions and honest mistake) by plod/prosecutor is an act of a "good citizen", corporate or fleshy.

      (El Reg, can we get the V icon available for us non-AC posters please? Would prefer that to BB)

  64. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    When encryption is outlawed...

    ...only outlaws will have encryption. By definition.

    Good luck wi' dat!

    I thought you guys on the right side of the Pond were not quite as stupid as we Colonist have recently become. I guess I was wrong about that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When encryption is outlawed...

      Which will then start making them stick out like sore thumbs, especially combined with a panopticon and stego mangling.

  65. The Central Scrutinizer

    Encryption is a cancer on society

    This is the Central Scrutinizer. It is my responsibility to collect all your passwords and data.

    To that end, from June 9 2017 we are outlawing mathematics, err encryption. Encryption is a cancer on society that allows people to have private conversations and messages via the Interwebz that the government cannot listen to. It also allows people to do their online banking in total privacy! This is clearly unacceptable.

    From June 9, we are rolling out a worldwide system to counter mathematics, err encryption. We are starting small, with a rollout on a little island off the west coast of Europe. Theresa, the Supreme Leader of this island, is terrific, she really is. She has already shown the right fascist tendencies and we are very excited to be helping her implement our new system of surveillance, err safety.

    Our staff from Central Services will be visiting every home and business in order to register all your computing devices in our Central Database. They will also be installing black boxes on all your devices in order to ensure that you can't use encryption. They only weigh a couple of kilograms each and are therefore barely noticeable. These tamper proof boxes are terrific too, they really are. Theresa came up with the idea and so, in her honour, we've christened them Theresa's Boxes. Now all your communications will be routed through Theresa's Boxes. Rental only costs a few shillings per month per device.

    From June 9, anyone caught using mathematics, err encryption, will be sent to our correctional facility north of the Arctic Circle, where they will be re-educated, using the Central Re-adjustment of Attitude Program, or CRAP. It is not known at this point how long this CRAP might take to work, but we suspect it won't be a brief stay at the facility. Dress warmly.

    We will keep you informed of any updates to this new system via Central Television.

    A world without encryption.

    You'll love it......it's a way of life.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So you won't give us your password eh?

    https://xkcd.com/538

    (for Western governments substitute leaning against a wall on your fingertips, wearing a hood and listening to white noise for the wrench)

  67. William 3 Bronze badge

    Good.

    There'll come a time when traitors to this land are held responsible for their actions.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Are you sure about that? Treason, like most other things human, is relative. City-saver or kingslayer?

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      @william 3

      I assume you're talking about the nimrod who would propose such ridiculousness, yes? No? Then you must be talking about yourself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @william 3

        Dont forget that Wiilliam3 also said "It's tragic when you're more concerned with not insulting a made up God rather than protecting innocent children from being slaughtered in the name of that made up God."

        And GMP has said that reported hate crimes have gone up in Manchester this week - includimg a school "that received a bomb threat after some students were asked if they were Muslim". How's that protecting children?

        Then again, when you're calling him Nimrod, there are quite a few stories about Nimrod building the Tower of Babel. William3's attitude, as posted, strikes me as wanting to destroy it.

  68. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate."

    Manchester was a personal tragedy for 22 families.

    The first incident in the UK in 12 years. Or the equivalent of less 4.5 days of deaths on British roads for 2016.

    Or less than 2.5 Hours of deaths caused by smoking in NHS hospitals in 2014.

    I point these things out because safety is an illusion. "Perfect" safety is a con. There are only levels of risk, right down to the possibility that reading this text will over stress your body to cause a fatal stroke. A vanishingly small chance, but if you insist on "perfect" safety....

    Doesn't the human race have enough history that demonizing an ethnic or religious group because you are afraid of them (or merely jealous of their success) leads to very bad outcomes ?

    Most British Moslems, like most people everywhere just want to get on with their lives in a law abiding society. More Draconian security measures, more security theatre, is a waste of time and money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate."

      "Doesn't the human race have enough history that demonizing an ethnic or religious group because you are afraid of them (or merely jealous of their success) leads to very bad outcomes ?" Plus demonizing purely because they're different in some way because of who they are (maybe they have an accent, or like different food, or were born somewhere else), rather than what they do, is just plain wrong .....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate."

        Which is pretty bad news sick it's also pretty much INSTINCT.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So basically...

    The cnuts that want us to live in the 14th century have had their wish granted by the UK gov.!

    AWESOME!

    Are UK gov using ex. Microsoft advisers? Asking for a friend, obvs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So basically...

      "The cnuts that want us to live in the 14th century have had their wish granted by the UK gov.!"

      Hate to point this out but C'nut was quite an enlightened chap. Not a bit like either main party of government we've had this century, he didn't think stating BS would make it happen.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: So basically...

        Not enlightened enough, I'd say, to realize some will believe their own words and will refuse to listen to reason. IOW, to them, his demonstration was simply him not trying hard enough. Some fights you just cannot win; an argument against an irrational person is one of them.

  70. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Special Dispensation

    How many loopholes will they write in to such a law?

    Construction workers must wear a hard hat, yet Sikh's are exempt for cultural reasons.

    You must take off your hat and glasses for a driving license photo, but muslim women can be all wrapped up like a mummy.

    The elite will be exempt claiming the communications are of a financial nature leaving the masses open to more surveillance than ever before.

    I've heard it said that the amount of data hoovered up by Intel agencies is a huge problem. They have a harder time processing the data in time to make it worth anything and can miss the wheat for all of the chaff. If one needs to search a haystack for a needle, it's best to believe there is a high probability of there being a needle in the haystack to start with before processing every stack in a farmer's field just to see if there is a needle.

  71. Cincinnataroo

    What can WE do about this

    I'm guessing a few people around here know how to apply GPG/PGP encryption, or whatever, to a text email.

    There's no need to rely on a third party.

    Why not swap public keys a bit more and increase use of encrypted email?

    Show your friends...

    You don't need help to encrypt a bit of text.

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