back to article Home Sec Amber Rudd: Yeah, I don't understand encryption. So what?

UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd has once again demonstrated she does not know how encryption works, this time by explicitly admitting it to delegates at a Tory party fringe conference where she also hit out at "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians. Speaking at a Spectator event, Rudd said: "It's so easy to be …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Techies will continue to sneer.

    That is all.

    1. Excellentsword

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      Sneerers gonna sneer.

      1. rh587 Bronze badge

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        Sneerers gonna sneer.

        Schneier's gonna Schneier?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      "any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right"

      You're a politician framing laws that affect people's rights and possibly reputation, livelihood, standing in society and ultimately even their liberty. "Getting it right" is the minimum requirement of your job.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        Here's a novel idea: if you're going to make laws about something, either understand what it is you're making laws about, or find someone who does and get them to explain it to you. If you don't understand it, maybe you should wait to make a law about it until you do.

        Note:

        This applies on both sides of the Atlantic.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          ... and in Australia

          (where the laws of mathematics do not override Australian "law")

          I'm sneering at you Malcolm

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        I'll just leave this here:

        Speculation that Amber Rudd wants to be PM

        What are her leadership chances? She came fifth in the latest poll of party members, with 7.5%, after Boris (21%), Jacob Rees-Mogg (15%), David Davis (14%) and Other (18%).

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "What are her leadership chances?"She came fifth in the latest poll, with 7.5%, Other (18%).

          and let's not forget the bit about "Her majority fell from 4,796 to 346, "

          Turning a safe Conservative seat into a marginal is quite a feat, but one she seems to have managed with ease. One might think her constituents had taken a dislike to her. A bit more and she might not be there at all.

          The Guardian says “Don’t Leave the Tories Rudd-erless!”

          Personally I'd quite happily leave it so.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          "Speculation that Amber Rudd wants to be PM"

          Amber who? another faceless politician. Cant we do like the US and just elect some celebrity?

          (obviously not a bigoted umpa lumpa)

          Preferably someone who didn't want the job.

        3. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          If those are the only choices, Other can be sure of my vote. Sight unseen.

        4. kpanchev

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          What are her leadership chances? She came fifth in the latest poll of party members, with 7.5%, after Boris (21%), Jacob Rees-Mogg (15%), David Davis (14%) and Other (18%).

          God forbid!!! Boris???? Seriously?!?!?

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer. I think I get her. She simply does not care

        About your security,

        About the security of anyone's data.

        About the security of anyone's money.

        She's talking out her a** doing this "for the greater good."

        She simply does not care.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer. I think I get her. She simply does not care

          "She simply does not care."

          The odd thing is she seems to care that she's sneered at - and still doesn't try to work out why.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        ...and you're a keyboard warrior who who thinks sneering is useful? Amusing on a site like this, yes, but don't fool yourself into thinking you're having any influence. She doesn't understand encription, you don't understand politics - a dialogue of the deaf.

        1. Agamemnon

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          Ah. The problem with your statement is that Techies DO understand politics.

          It is a very simple, childish, and systemically broken system filled with arrogant gits that couldn't manage a career doing something actually Useful (like mowing my lawn, or refactoring some code I wrote for my better half some years ago, she relies on and I want to retire for the New Shiny thing I wrote).

          We understand, we understand Quite Clearly.

          The lack of clarity is one-sided.

          Go ahead, ask me about James (FaLaLaLa Silicon Valley's Problem And Theeeeey Woooont Heeeeeelp Meeeee Break Their Stuff FaLaLaLa) Comey.

          The thought: "I can do my job, your job, AND your boss' job, maintaining my quality of work, ex increasing that of yourself And your Boss by an order of magnitude, BEFORE I have to add espresso to my day." is largely, where the Well Deserved Sneering comes from.

          *Sneer.* -sniff- *SNEEEEEER.*

    3. Cynical Observer
      Trollface

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      To be fair, many techies will also try at least once, possibly even more than once to explain some of the obstacles that make the ministers demands unrealistic.

      And then - when we have been ignored for the umpteenth plus one time, then we're going to sneer.

      It's the wilful refusal to engage with the complexity of the issues at hand, the adamant insistence that "lords and masters" know better. And at that point, when we realise that we have met the ministerial equivalent of "Tim, Nice but Dim", then we sneer!

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        Yep. While it is true that a politician does not need to know the mathematics behind encryption, especially the more head hurty public/private key arrangements, they do need to understand the basic concepts of security and reality. If a mechanism, any mechanism, is designed with a catch-all bypass which is "protected" by keeping this mechanism "secret" then the mechanism is no longer secure and this bypass mechanism will find its way out to big, bad world.

        Would Ms Rudd require that all door locks produced by locksmiths selling locks for use in the UK share a common master key, copies of which are stored in Ms Rudd's office, in all police stations (just in case), in the glove boxes of all emergency vehicles (just in case), in the cabinets of all utility companies (just in case), in the offices of local councils (just in case - terrorists and kiddie botherers y'know) and of course various very reputable* private security companies such as G4S (just in case one wants to outsource things).

        Ah... Ms Rudd would think this is a good idea because she is unfeasibly stupid and would lose an intellectual challenge against a tub of lard and can't of think anything beyond a police state. Damn. I think I may have sneered. My bad.

        * "Reputable" doesn't necessarily mean having a good reputation...

        1. Cynical Observer
          Stop

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          @Nick

          Would Ms Rudd require that all door locks produced by locksmiths selling locks for use in the UK share a common master key, copies of which are stored in Ms Rudd's office, in all police stations (just in case), in the glove boxes of all emergency vehicles (just in case), in the cabinets of all utility companies (just in case), in the offices of local councils (just in case - terrorists and kiddie botherers y'know) and of course various very reputable* private security companies such as G4S (just in case one wants to outsource things).

          For the love of [Insert Deity]

          Don't start giving her ideas! She's dangerous enough as it is!

          1. James 51 Silver badge

            Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

            The TSA (aka the theif support agency) beat her to that a long time ago:

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

            https://www.wired.com/2015/09/lockpickers-3-d-print-tsa-luggage-keys-leaked-photos/

        2. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          "then the mechanism is no longer secure and this bypass mechanism will find its way out to big, bad world"

          Should be particularly significant to Amber Rudd, because the recent NHS disaster was created by code that found its way from the NSA to the big, bad world.

        3. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          "Would Ms Rudd require that all door locks produced by locksmiths selling locks for use in the UK share a common master key, copies of which are stored in Ms Rudd's office, in all police stations (just in case), in the glove boxes of all emergency vehicles (just in case), in the cabinets of all utility companies (just in case), in the offices of local councils (just in case - terrorists and kiddie botherers y'know) and of course various very reputable* private security companies such as G4S (just in case one wants to outsource things).".

          Y'mean like the TSA require all your luggage to have locks with master keys if you travel to the States?

          Can't think what could possibly go wrong with that *stares at kits of TSA master keys for sale*

          Don't forget, if you've nothing to hide you don't need privacy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

            "*stares at kits of TSA master keys for sale*"

            From experience, luggage does get checked by the TSA. (We had a suitcase delayed by half a day because we changed planes and our suitcase got looked at by them, and didn't make it to our flight.)

            Ultimately, it all boils down as to whether you can check a suspicious case without opening it, and if not, *how* do you allow access to the various agencies whilst providing security to passengers.

            For the record, I know my cases have been rifled through in other countries, and the TSA is the only agency that have left a polite note saying they had done it. (No idea what they were looking for.)

            I've never lost anything from hold luggage, but then I'd never intentionally put something valuable in there....

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

              Out of curiosity, what's the legal position of having primed mouse-traps in your luggage?

            2. Gio Ciampa

              Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

              "From experience, luggage does get checked by the TSA."

              Seconded from here - the last time I was out that way they left a leaflet in my luggage on the way home... right next to the one that they'd left on the way in (that I'd deliberately placed so that it was they first thing they'd see on opening it...)

    4. nijam

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      We sneer, not at their ignorance, but at their reluctance to understand the issue - no matter how straightforwardly it is explained - because it does not give the answer they want.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      FFS. She is part of the same Tory Cabinet that do their own sneering, organising, backstabbing via encrypted WhatsApp messaging, against the clueless deadwood Maybot.

      Johnson has admitted to using WhatsApp messaging for such purposes, in a Guardian article.

    6. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      Amber, hun, you need to realise that not knowing how something works is fine. Encryption is really complicated - that's why you should listen to experts about it. More than one expert. From more than one think-tank. And they'll disagree. And that's fine too. Because the societal issues are almost as complicated as the technology. And once you've accepted that "it's complicated" is a perfectly reasonable answer, maybe you'll be less of a knee-jerk totalitarian and be more in tune with the tolerant traditions that are the best part of this country.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        @MyffyW -- Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        It could be she is listening to "experts"... the "experts" at the agency that wants the backdoors and thus will give her slanted info to get what they want.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: @MyffyW -- Techies will continue to sneer.

          "It could be she is listening to "experts"... the "experts" at the agency that wants the backdoors and thus will give her slanted info to get what they want."

          Nailed it!

      2. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        MyffyW, I couldn't agree more.

        But would you please, please, PLEASE stop writing "societal"? The word you want is "social". Otherwise I shall get really aggravatatated.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          @Arctech, what's wrong with societal?

          Societal : of or relating to society, esp human society or social relations

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

            The two words appear to mean exactly the same, and "social" is perfectly adequate. There is no need for another (inevitably longer and more important-sounding) word.

            It's rather like "orientated" (as in "object-orientated") which is just a longer, more pompous version of "oriented". Strictly speaking there is a small difference, in that "oriented" means "pointed towards", whereas "orientated" means "made to point towards". On that basis, too, "oriented" is the better choice.

            The general principle is this:

            "Broadly speaking, short words are best, and the old words, when short, are best of all".

            - Sir Winston Churchill (speech on receiving the London Times Literary Award, November 2, 1949)

            1. Pedantic

              Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

              No No! words are good, more the merrier, make us think! Otherwise will end up with 1984's "double good!" if you thought it was better than "good"

        2. Agamemnon
          Coat

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          I think you have some extra tatas in your aggravation.

          * Mines the one with extra tatas.

    7. Chemical Bob
      Coat

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      Objects in mirror are sneerer than they appear.

      1. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

        Reminds me of an ex-boss who encrypted his Android phone as soon as he found out it was possible.. Having done so he was then offered a newer phone which he picked up from the store. Sadly he promptly forgot the password and asked me to unlock it for him. When I explained that I couldn't do that he said I wasn't making any friends with that answer. It took two other people and Googling before he believed me.

        We sat around trying to help him remember his password offering potential categories he might have chosen from. After going through half a dozen we hit paydirt with first place he went on holiday. We then went to the pub and he bought a couple of rounds as a thank you. The main reason he was desperate to have access to his phone was because it had the dates of his Wedding Anniversary and Wife's Birthday.

        1. Morat

          Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

          Was a couple of rounds of drinks enough to secure him from identity theft? :)

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Objects in mirror are sneerer than they appear.

        In the case of politician's mirrors:

        Objects in mirror are thickerthan they appear.

    8. Piro

      Re: Techies will continue to sneer.

      You have one downvote. I didn't know Amber Rudd read El Reg. It seems way out of her field.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It'd be easy to say that, once Amber Rudd leaves the Home Office it'll be Rudd-erless. But I think it's already there with her onboard.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I think they have a few anchors on board.

      *darned autocorrect.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Sounds to me like ...

      ... she's going overboard.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Sounds to me like ...

        "... she's going overboard."

        ... runs to assist with a lead-weighted lifebelt.

    3. Cynical Observer
      Coat

      @wolfetone

      ... Presumably why any initiative will be pilot lead?

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Rudd-er or not, the Home Office has a clear direction

      Experts: 'You are going to crash into the rocks!'

      Amber: 'You are just a bunch of sneering "experts", what do you know? Full speed ahead!'

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Rudd

        She's just banned the sale of acid to under 18s. So it is vitally important that you take a form of photo ID with you if you want to avail yourself of the standard condiments next time you go to the chippy.

        Either that or she's some sort of flatulent, calcium-based life form that's managed to infiltrate the corridors of power.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Rudd

          She's just banned the sale of acid to under 18s.

          Yes, just a few simple thought experiments show how unworkable this particular knee-jerk is, even if she is just talking about strong acids (rather than, for instance, vinegar, lemon juice, or rainwater)

          For example, a sixteen-year-old can legally ride a 50cc scooter on a provisional licence. All such modern scooters have electronic ignition, running off a 6V or 12V lead-acid battery. Will she therefore be making it illegal for under-18s to purchase such scooters, or will she make it so that only adults can buy the batteries? In this case, will it also be illegal for someone over 18 to buy acids, and hence acid-containing batteries for under-18s (in the same way as buying alcohol for under-18s is). To further complicate things, when you buy a replacement battery for a scooter, you often get the battery and acid in separate containers, and have to mix them.

          Assuming that the group that Ms Rudd is attempting to target are under-18s using strong acids as weapons, where exactly does she think they are getting them from? Bear in mind that the most likely common source for strong acids is the sulphuric acid in car/bike batteries, how does she think making the purchase illegal is going to restrict access to these ubiquitous batteries? It's not as if someone who is going to attack another person with acid is going to balk at the idea of nicking a battery out of a car.

          1. Thoguht Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Rudd

            Has she remembered hydroxic acid? That should definitely be banned too.

            1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Rudd

              I'm more worried about dihydrogen monoxide. Did you know that ALL terrorists have dihydrogen monoxide in their blood!

            2. Lotaresco
              Boffin

              Re: Rudd

              "Has she remembered hydroxic acid? That should definitely be banned too."

              She should be made aware that hydroxic acid spontaneously converts to the much stronger carbonic acid when exposed to the atmosphere. It's like a gateway drug to strong acids.

              1. Nai

                Re: Rudd

                No, it's ok. Hydroxic acid is usually instantly neutralized when exposed to an equal molar amount of hydrogen hydroxide.

                But I do wonder what pH range will be allowed to be sold to under-18's

                pH 7 only?

                pH 4 to pH 10?

                Or will only pH 1 and pH 14 be proscribed from sale to minors?

            3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Rudd

              "Has she remembered hydroxic acid? That should definitely be banned too."

              Ooh, look! You've got exactly its pH in upvotes.

          2. John Sanders
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Rudd

            What about over 18 year old using acid to carry out attacks?

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Unhappy

              "What about over 18 year old using acid to carry out attacks?"

              No, that's fine.

              It's not a thing. So the papers aren't bi**hing at her that "Something must be done."

          3. iowe_iowe

            Re: Rudd

            Dilute the stuff - 10,000,000:1 - homeopathy principles say that this should make it more powerful, so you'd only need 0.00000041L for a 60Ah car battery. this answer has been approved by Jacob Rees-Mogg

          4. Dwarf Silver badge

            Re: Rudd

            So no acid to under 18's. but at 17 you can drive.

            What happens when the old car that the 17 year old buys needs a new battery - will they be refused ?

            What happens to the old battery ?

            Do 17 year old's need yet another reason to have an unclean toilet if they can't buy bleach ?

            I hear that people can get hurt by a brick when its thrown too - will those be next on the list ??

            1. JimboSmith Silver badge

              Re: Rudd

              Just seen an advert for a product containing Hyaluronic acid‎ and the description on this product http://www.boots.com/loreal-paris-revitalift-filler-renew-hyaluronic-replumping- serum-16ml-10191322 describes it as 10 times more concentrated with hyaluronic acid than the average L'Oréal product. Frightening stuff!!

            2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

              Re: Rudd

              > What happens when the old car that the 17 year old buys needs

              > a new battery - will they be refused ?

              Same as under 16s not being allowed to buy disposable razors.

              1. veti Silver badge

                Re: Rudd

                So under-16s now can't buy Coca-Cola. Can't see that rule being a big hit with the fast food industry.

              2. Lotaresco

                Re: Rudd

                "Same as under 16s not being allowed to buy disposable razors."

                The Offensive Weapons Act 1996 makes it an offence to sell to anyone under the age of 18 any knife, knife blade or razor blade, axe or any other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed. That appears to include wooden skewers, pointed sticks, needles, knitting needles screwdrivers, chisels etc. Because of course the first thing anyone aged 17 years and 364 days would try to do is to stab someone as soon as they got their hands on a sharp object.

                Disposable razors don't seem to be permitted but razor blade cartridges are if less than 2mm of blade is exposed. Single and double edged safety razors are banned.

                .

          5. gnasher729 Silver badge

            Re: Rudd

            To be fair, the low lives who do acid attacks (requires some major brain damage to do that) are unlikely to figure out who to extract acid from a scooter battery without putting themselves in need of hospital treatment. If going to a shop and buying acid doesn't work, then they are stopped.

          6. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Rudd

            "when you buy a replacement battery for a scooter, you often get the battery and acid in separate containers, and have to mix them."

            Seriously? when did you last have one? the 50s? I have never heard of that.

            "It's not as if someone who is going to attack another person with acid is going to balk at the idea of nicking a battery out of a car."

            Its a lot harder though isnt it? how many batteries would you need? They'd probly just go back to knifing people.

            I agree its a knee jerk reaction , but they already do it with glue and various other household stuff. Dosent seem to have handicapped kids significantly.

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: Rudd

              No mention of strong alkali's though.

              I was always under the impression they were worse than acid.

              Unless she bans ammonia she's just taking the piss (legally).

            2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Rudd

              Seriously? when did you last have one? the 50s? I have never heard of that.

              FWIW, it was around 2005, when I had to replace a battery on a scooter, which although new when bought from the dealer, had a battery in it that must have been made from lemon juice and a couple of nails.

              Definitely had to pour the H2SO4 into the battery. I still have the burns in the ironing-board cover to prove it.

              Oh, and you can do a LOT of damage with a very small amount of concentrated acid. I learned the hard way not to wear a favourite T-shirt in the lab when I was a student. Car batteries contain a significant amount of the stuff.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rudd

          I bet she's Raxacoricofallapatorian.

        3. Just An Engineer

          Re: Rudd

          that would be something like Amber Rudd Raxacoricofallapato.

        4. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Rudd

          Acid? Like the acid from the 60's or the stuff from lemons, etc.? Or maybe it's the chemical stuff for recharging batteries, cleaning toilets, etc.? Being in the States I'm not sure what the hell she just banned for you guys across the pond.

          1. BongoJoe

            Re: Rudd

            When I was young lad I always had a small bottle of HCl in my pocket so that I could definitely distinguish between sandstone and limestone.

          2. acid andy
            Unhappy

            Re: Rudd

            Maybe it's acid house music.

          3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Rudd

            Being in the UK, I'm not sure what the hell she just banned for us either.

            In fact, neither is she!

            (acid as in the burny-burny stuff, that's about the level of technical level bring applied)

          4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

            Re: Rudd

            "Being in the States I'm not sure what the hell she just banned for you guys across the pond."

            No worries. Amber Rudd doesn't know either.

        5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Rudd

          "She's just banned the sale of acid to under 18s."

          Presumably bleach is still OK.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd rather the Home Office is Rudd-erless than Rudd-y Useless

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

    Here's a wonderful idea, I've just had it myself, why doesn't she listen to the grown ups and stop dismissing what they have to say?

    When I was a child if I asked for something and my parents said it wasn't possible I generally got the idea without making myself look like a massive thunder ****.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

      Put yourself in her place. It should be dreadful for politicians, used to think about themselves as "know-it-all, know-it-better" types, to find themselves naked to the truth they don't know enough, and the little they believed to know is wrong, in a world that became and is quickly becoming complex in ways all their knowledge is useless to understand, especially since very few politicians have scientific backgrounds.

      The very fact she said "encryption helps criminals" shows she doesn't understand why encryption exists and why it needs to be used. Did she ever think what would mean to hinder all the things that "help criminals" - for example, sell only unsharpened knives? Register crowbar users? Ban nylon pantyhose? Enforce a max car speed of 10 km/h, so a policeman can follow thieves by foot? What about money, do politicians know the very existence of money helps criminals a lot - including those among politicians??

      1. Allonymous Coward

        Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

        It should be dreadful for politicians, used to think about themselves as "know-it-all, know-it-better" types, to find themselves naked to the truth they don't know enough, and the little they believed to know is wrong, in a world that became and is quickly becoming complex in ways all their knowledge is useless to understand, especially since very few politicians have scientific backgrounds.

        ^-- this

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

          especially since very few politicians have scientific backgrounds.

          Except Margaret Thatcher.

          I'll just leave that here.

          1. veti Silver badge

            Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

            Dear Amber, Try these three simple steps to stop being sneered at:

            1. Ask for expert advice

            2. Keep asking until you understand the problem

            3. Take the advice.

            As a side-effect, you may find that the ideas you've been told to promote don't seem so good. That is not a bad thing: maybe those ideas aren't so good. At a minimum, at this point you should go back to the person who gave you those ideas and put some new questions to them; if they do have answers, then take those back to the other expert. Get educated.

            Yes, it's hard work, but it's your job.

            As a very wise man once wrote: you don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

        Yes but cabinet members didn't used to be diversity tokens promoted beyond their ability to make the PM look good...

        1. small and stupid

          Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

          Yeah, theres this huge crowd of far more competent Tory politicians that should have got the job instead.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

            They never seem to use the useful or good ones.

            Look at all their opposition leaders?

            Mine's a pint Hague

            Bovver boy Smith

            Count Howard

            And look at the ones they rejected!

            May is only PM, because Boris is a complete tool and none of the others want the shitstorm.

    2. nijam

      Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

      Actually, the problem is patronising politicians sneering at techies. Obviously.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians

        Politicians sneer at each other all the time. Not any particular party, all of them. They are nasty sneery little sociopaths, and no competent person would want to be one.

  4. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Breathtaking arrogance...

    ...Even now I'll bet she's shopping around for an 'expert' who agrees with her views...

  5. jake Silver badge

    She's an adult?

    And she's playing the school-kid "I'm being bullied, WAAAAAA!" card?

    Who the fuck does she think she is? Donald Trump?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: She's an adult?

      She thinks she's the cabinet minister with the smallest majority and so needs to prove herself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: She's an adult?

        I was always told by my dad, "Son, alway go for the small gobby one! Then see the rest run.."

        1. GettinSadda

          Re: She's an adult?

          > I was always told by my dad, "Son, alway go for the small gobby one! Then see the rest run.."

          Interesting advice... of course these days the "small gobby one" also routinely carries a knife, so it's a handy way of removing yourself from the problem permanently!

      2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Mycho

        But does she really have to go out of her way to prove she is the most determinedly ignorant twit in the cabinet?

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: most determinedly ignorant twit in the cabinet

          There is a lot of competition for that one.

        2. MrBanana

          ...she is the most determinedly ignorant twit in the cabinet?

          Damn autocorrect.

        3. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Mycho

          But does she really have to go out of her way to prove she is the most determinedly ignorant twit in the cabinet?

          I suspect she has far loftier designs. To quote Mr Flemming, "The World is Not Enough".

  6. Jedit

    "as many "sneering" experts have previously pointed out"

    Or as the Tories would put it, sneering "experts". Of whom we are, of course, tired of hearing their opinions on their specialist subjects. They truly are an idiocracy, valuing ignorance over knowledge because knowledge exposes the emptiness of their ideology. Auberon Waugh was ashamed of the Conservatives in 1983; God knows what he'd think of them now.

  7. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Reality Sandwich

    The politicians should really have a bite...

    "patronising" techies that "sneered" at politicians.

    should read...

    "patronising" politicians that "sneered" at techies."

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Whatever you do, don't hold back.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I think I can see a common theme emerging. Politicians didn't listen to the sneering experts in charge of renovating Westminister either. Or the sneering fire safety experts who lobbied for years to get the building code changed to no effect.

      Politics needs higher entry conditions than just being a blustering rent-a-gob. Things are more complicated than 100 years ago.

      1. defiler Silver badge

        "Politicians didn't listen to the sneering experts"

        There's a reason for that, you know. "People in this country have had enough of experts" - Michael Gove said so, so it must be true.

        I'm just wondering where all the tax revenue is going to come from when the entire financial sector collapses due to an international loss of faith in the encryption of British comms...

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Not sure that will be an issue because there won't be much of a British finance sector before too long to collapse, encryption or not.

  9. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "We will take advice from other people but I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right,"

    If you don't want to be laughed at. Why not take the advise first before you put forward your ideas for new legislation?

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I think politicians are much like managers in that apparently their job is not having any clue about how whatever they're managing works, but having a clue about how to herd human beings instead. And what is the single fundamental tenet of dealing with people? "Never take no for an answer", based on the observation that the surest way to get results is to assure the full involvement of your lab rat by forcing his interest to coincide with yours - ie. denying him the option to simply refuse what you ask. It turns out this approach more often than not produces results that are a workable compromise (for you the pragmatic tyrant) even when your original request is indeed a physical impossibility. It's all inconsequential - your minion, quivering in terror at the consequences of failing, will come up with something close enough.

      Now, these days going medieval on your minions is somewhat frowned upon (to the great regret of the powers-that-be, no doubt), but the principle remains unchanged, which should go a long way towards helping us understand why they act as seemingly wilfully thick and stubborn as they do; it's not that they don't understand there's a fundamental problem with their request, but rather that us saying "no" just means they haven't put enough of the right kind of pressure on us. Coercion always gets results of one kind or another. No result just mean not enough coercion.

      From the point of view of a techie thinking in absolutes, an imperfectly watertight, backdoored encryption is a useless thing not worth wasting any further brain cycles on. From their point of view, as long as they get their coveted back door, the rest of us getting left potentially naked in the cold is just a risk they're willing to take, even if they have to outright outlaw all "unlicensed" hard encryption to get there. I don't understand why we seem to think they'd finally "get it" if only we'd explain it all to them once again, clearly enough. Does anyone here seriously see these folks just going "oh, if it's not possible then of course just forget about the whole thing" at some point...? They DO GET IT just fine. As far as they're concerned, we're the ones failing to get it that there's no way out of this room until they get something approximating what they wanted...

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: post by DropBear

        Depressingly accurate.

        The question remains, why the fuck do we keep letting them get away with this?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I don't need to know how encryption works" - true - not in detail but some knowledge on how it fits in would help.

    "Terrorists can use encryption to communicate securely" (para) - true

    "Security forces need back doors into encryption" - wrong

    It not the facts she has wrong, though some could be, it's the conclusion. Terrorists and other criminals use all sorts of tools to plan and commit their acts but do you ban all of them just because it could be used that way?

    ---

    What I found more worrying is the gaol time for those viewing "terrorist material" on-line. Who defines what is "terrorist material"? Government could decree any sites working on disrupting their plans are "terrorist material".

    1. Caltharian

      "What I found more worrying is the gaol time for those viewing "terrorist material" on-line. Who defines what is "terrorist material"? Government could decree any sites working on disrupting their plans are "terrorist material"."

      i think that is the direction they are planning on taking, to include any content to the left of enoch powell

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Who defines what is "terrorist material"?

        Ray Bradbury.

        1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Re: Who defines what is "terrorist material"?

          Tory Party Political Broadcasts? They terrify me.

      2. My Alter Ego

        Too bloody right. How are we supposed to know what the Government have decided is terrorist material?

        1. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Oh well maybe they'll do what they did in Scotland regarding some types of Pr0n.

          Scotland bans smut. What smut? Won't say" just don't tell anyone:

          A spokesman told us: "We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold."

          They added that any such information would also be exempt from any attempt to tease it out by using Freedom of Information legislation.

          Jennie Kermode, a Glasgow-based campaigner and writer for film review site Eye for Film told us: "The problem with the Crown Office's position in this instance is that, with the best will in the world, people cannot be expected to adhere to a law they do not understand. In the case of a crime like murder, it's pretty simple – don't kill people."

          She added: "In this case, what the law says is that people may possess some images but not others; how are they to know which ones are okay?

          "This kind of law has a chilling effect on activity not actually considered criminal, much as the infamous Section 2A (clause 28 in England) restricted discussion of homosexuality far beyond its original mandate due to its lack of clarity. Such intentional obfuscation goes against the spirit of our legal system."

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Terrorist Material

      That's the sort of catch all. slippery language beloved of politicians.

      If they don't like something its terrorism.

      Any excuse will do e.g, the odd dodgy act by someone with a particular view and anyone with that view tarred with the same terrorist brush.

      However I'm a bit worried about reading too much Conservative party information, after all they keep supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, and Saudi funds lots of terrorists so by looking at Tory websites / speeches I might be associating myself with supporting terrorism

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Terrorist Material

        I saw some once, it was hilarious, the subtitles were so full of information.

        It appears they all join up for the hot gay sex.

        A parody, yet illegal.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What I found more worrying is the gaol time for those viewing "terrorist material" on-line. Who defines what is "terrorist material"? Government could decree any sites working on disrupting their plans are "terrorist material".

      Best switch the telly off, at least while the news is on.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Best switch the telly off, at least while the news is on.

        Let's skip the news boy (I'll make some tea)

        The Arabs and the Jews boy (too much for me)

        They get me confused boy (puts me off to sleep)

        And the thing I hate - Oh Lord!

        Is staying up late, to watch some debate, on some nation's fate.

        (Genesis, Blood on the Rooftops)

    4. Graham Cobb

      Who defines what is "terrorist material"? Government could decree any sites working on disrupting their plans are "terrorist material".

      Or what happens when the government go all Spanish and decide that calls for Scottish independence are illegal?

      Seriously, after this weekend, in a supposedly civilised, EU country with military levels of force against people expressing peaceful support of their elected representatives by just voting, I don't think the government have a leg to stand on when discussing supposedly anti-terrorist legislation.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      It not the facts she has wrong, though some could be, it's the conclusion.

      That's probably because she working backwards from a desired end-state (having access to everything, everywhere) and needs to find adequate[1] justification for doing so.

      And in the minds of a lot of the populace[2] she's right - because they don't understand the issue either.

      [1] In her view and that of her minders in the Civil Service who, having done PPE or Classics at Oxbridge, don't understand either.

      [2] Most of whom see a computer as a magic box that sometimes breaks down but mostly shows stuff on the Interwebnetthingy.

    6. Lotaresco

      "What I found more worrying is the gaol time for those viewing "terrorist material" on-line."

      Here are some things that have been used in terrorist attacks. Each of them can, therefore, be considered to be "terrorist material". Presumably reading this post is an act of sedition.

      Pressure Cookers; Nails; Screws; Nuts; Bolts; Ball Bearings; Flour; Fertiliser; Diesel Oil; Motor Vehicles; Knives; Batteries; Countdown Timers; Shopping Bags; Plastic Buckets; Mobile Phones.

      Lots of others but I don't want to be accused of writing a Terrorist Cookbook.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Polystyrene cups, elastic bands, gasoline. That's a nasty combination.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What I found more worrying is the gaol time for those viewing "terrorist material" on-line. Who defines what is "terrorist material"? Government could decree any sites working on disrupting their plans are "terrorist material". I now worry I'm on a watchlist for viewing YouTube videos of someone chucking a large lump of Sodium/dry ice/other substance into their back yard swimming pool. Ooh and I saw an instructional film about how to take over a US Navy Warship a few nights ago on television. Made a mental note to check for the presence of Steven Segal before attempting it. This was a central warning in the video and I haven't forgotten it.

    8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      RE: AC

      There's an opt-out if you claim you're a journalist...Yeah, it's a stupid law though. Information should be unrestricted in a free society.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: RE: AC

        ""We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold.""

        Fucking what??

        So, by that logic, you wouldn't publicize the policy on prosecuting murder because people might then know how to avoid murdering people?

        Very Kafkaesque.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping – end-to-end encryption – the criminals"

    Yup. Not understanding stuff you are making decisions about is always a fab idea. Top Tip : Save all this pesky 'trying to understand' stuff by selecting policies with a blindfold and a pin.

    1. Naselus

      She's not wrong, tbh. She doesn't need to understand encryption to understand how it helps terrorists.

      Unfortunately, she does need to understand it if she's to try and formulate any sort of policy in reaction to that, and that's where it's all fallen down for them. Otherwise, you end up in the Canute-like position of trying to repeal maths by force of law, which doesn't work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Otherwise, you end up in the Canute-like position of trying to repeal maths by force of law, which doesn't work."

        The Republicans in Alabama have tried that already for Pi = 3.

        “For decades, we’ve all been learning that pi is this crazy ‘irrational’ number. And any number with no end is, not, well, it makes it really hard,” Roby said. “We talked about making pi 3-and-a-third, but that wouldn’t really help, because you’re still then stuck with endless threes.”

        1. A K Stiles
          Joke

          Their first mistake

          was in not just trying to make it 31/8 - surely that would have fit much better into the non-metrique, 'english' system of measurements too?

        2. unwarranted triumphalism

          Except that has already been debunked.

          1. BongoJoe

            I have often wondered what happens if something is actually 'bunked'.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              I have often wondered what happens if something is actually 'bunked'.

              I understand that this is how politicians breed. I am trying not to think about this too much.

        3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Stop

          Alabama Pi bill = urban legend

          However, Indiana (almost) passed something similar in 1897:

          https://www.agecon.purdue.edu/crd/localgov/Second%20Level%20pages/indiana_pi_bill.htm

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Alabama Pi bill = urban legend

            Linkify your links or they get truncated...

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Otherwise, you end up in the Canute-like position of trying to repeal maths by force of law, which doesn't work."

        Sorry to go all Bob but JUST GO AND READ UP ABOUT CANUTE.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is easy to sort out.

    Why don't we just rename encryption/decryption as combobulation/discombobulation and leave her to go after breaking encryption?

    Then when she does find out it'll make even less sense than what she's asking for now.

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward
      Pint

      Discombobulation

      A term I have not heard for many years. May I raise you a pint for adding to the pool of El Reg approved vocabulalry?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Discombobulation

        Along with other notably fine words:

        Anaspeptic

        Frasmotic

        Compunctuous

        Pericombobulation

        Contrafibularities

        Sausages*

        Sadly not yet available in reputable dictionaries.

        *apart from this one, obviously (and Aardvark) :)

  13. thondwe

    DevOps Idea

    Having just watched the original "DevOps" talk by the guys from Flickr - basically get Ops and Devs to work together - here's an idea - how about Politicians WORK with Experts rather than blaming each other?????

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

      Re: DevOps Idea

      Many experts are dying to work with the government, but are constantly frustrated by politicians ignoring their advice, because their advice says: sorry, that is impossible. Amber Rudd would probably say I was condescending if I give a mathematical proof of the impossibility to crack a message encrypted with a true one-time pad, and then demonstrate how easy it is to construct one.

      There is also the issue of a very different communication style between techies and politicians: techies are very blunt, and have a tact filter on their input, so they don't easily get offended when they are told bluntly that they are wrong. Politicians (and indeed most others) find being told they are wrong far more offensive.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: DevOps Idea

      Call it DivOps.

    3. Naselus

      Re: DevOps Idea

      "how about Politicians WORK with Experts rather than blaming each other?"

      I fail to see what the politicians are supposed to bring to the partnership, tbh.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: DevOps Idea

        I fail to see what the politicians are supposed to bring to the partnership, tbh.

        Choccie biccies? 'bout all they're qualified for!

    4. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Politicians WORK with Experts Idea

      Beautiful theory, practical implementation is tricky.

    5. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: DevOps Idea

      how about Politicians WORK with Experts rather than blaming each other

      Don't be silly - that might affect the politicians chance of being re-elected!

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DevOps Idea

      how about Politicians WORK with Experts rather than blaming each other?????

      When every expert tells Government that their policy over drugs - both illegal and legal, with the exception of nicotine now we've gone all sensible over vaping - is utterly wrongheaded, yet they continue with more and more criminalisation because The Daily Mail, you can understand why experts find it tricky to engage with Government policy. And bad for their mental health, too.

  14. SVV Silver badge

    The Home Office

    Has she not asked anyone to explain to her how "it works"? Is there nobody there that understands it?

    "Well minister, it will be rather difficult to stop because it's done using something called source code, which is how all other computery stuff is done too"

    "Right, draft a bill for me that bans this source code stuff, that'll solve the problem"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No one at the ICO has a Comp-Sci Degree...Says it all.

      You forget there is not a single person working at the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) has a computer science degree. Well, it may have changed, but that was certainly the case not long back.

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: No one at the ICO has a Comp-Sci Degree...Says it all.

        Sorry, but I don't understand your point. The ICO deals with the enforcement of the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act, and will deal with the GPDR when it is enshrined in UK law. The ICO asks questions like "did you encrypt the data to an adequate degree?" or possibly "can you prove you encrypted the data?", or "why have you not responded to a single FOI within the statutory time frame?". It is not particularly concerned with the technological aspects of data protection, more with the processes put in place by organisations to comply with the DPA (especially if breaches occur) and the FoI (especially if a public body fails to respond within the statutory time frame).

        Given that the ICO is an organisation whose remit is to monitor and enforce process, how would a computer science degree help achieve this remit?

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: No one at the ICO has a Comp-Sci Degree...Says it all.

        not a single person working at the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) has a computer science degree

        Neither do I - but that hasn't stopped me working in computing for my whole life.. (and having a smidgeon of a clue about encryption too).

        Being able to pass a CS degree does not confer the ability to understand computing. It just demonstrates that you can pass a CS degree course..

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The Home Office

      Has she not asked anyone to explain to her how "it works"? Is there nobody there that understands it?

      I've explained this before.

      There are people at the HO who do understand it. They need someone who doesn't to front things for them because such a person will be able to spout the bollocks they tell her with complete sincerity as she doesn't know any better.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: The Home Office

        Exactly. If she want's terrorists to stop using the internet, why doesn't she just break it or turn it off? All she has to do is type Google into Google, or flick the switch on the box with the little red light on it.

        1. Tom 64
          Windows

          Re: The Home Office

          >"All she has to do is type Google into Google"

          I'm willing to wager she has tried this.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: The Home Office

            >"All she has to do is type Google into Google"

            I'm willing to wager she has tried this.

            I haven't, I'm worried my computer might disappear up it's own usb port in a recursive nightmare.

      2. Phil W

        Re: The Home Office

        Coming next week, Amber Rudd will make a speech about how great the Internet is and she's managed to borrow it to show everyone *cue small black box* "it's wireless!".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Home Office

        Anyone else reminded by this of Jen in the IT Crowd: '*This*...is the internet!'

    3. Tinslave_the_Barelegged

      Re: The Home Office

      Except it is likely that the Home Office is the real problem here. I know I have mentioned this before, but every Home Sec seems to get radicalised within weeks of taking the job. Having an especially dimwitted incumbent just makes radicalisation easier.

      1. Vittal Aithal
        Facepalm

        Re: The Home Office

        You're right - happens to all Home Secs. I reckon it's something in the water coolers as the Home Office. Remember how Blunkett quickly went off the rails once he arrived. One sip, and it's all "Who needs airy-fairy civil liberties!".

        1. small and stupid

          Re: The Home Office

          Its Dementors. definitely.

        2. THMONSTER

          Re: The Home Office

          Possibly "This is what we have got on you, this is what we can just plain make up about you and this is what you are going to say. Don't worry, just turn off your brain and we will do the hard work now repeat after me..."

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: The Home Office

            Hey! At least any digital evidence produced in court to be used in a case against me will have a secure digital fingerprint on it to prove that it was my own doings and not something made up by the HO, the CPS or MI5/6 etc

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Home Office

          "You're right - happens to all Home Secs."

          Not all. Home Secretary Roy Jenkins ( 1965–1967) overturned many laws that had been recognised as unjust for many years - but the usual conservative forces claimed their god would be offended.

          Wikipedia:

          "[...] he sought to build what he described as "a civilised society", with measures such as the effective abolition in Britain of both capital punishment and theatre censorship, the decriminalisation of homosexuality, relaxing of divorce law, suspension of birching and the liberalisation of abortion law. "

        4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: The Home Office

          I reckon it's something in the water coolers as the Home Office

          No - it's the special 're-education room' that they reserve for senior staff and politicians..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Home Office

      I work at the Home Office, though nothing in this area.

      Contrary to what many people think, there are some very clever people at the Home Office working on IT and some of them really do understand this stuff, at least more than I do.

      So I have no doubt that techies are speaking out, I'm unsure if people are listening or other people are poisoning the words or softening them.

  15. Allonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    From the BBC article

    "I am not suggesting you give us the code," the home secretary shot back, telling him: " I understand the principle of end-to-end encryption - it can't be unwrapped. That's what has been developed.

    "What I am saying is the companies who are developing that should work with us."

    It's not very clear what she means here. Work with them how? By decrypting messages? In which case, isn't that just giving the Home Office "the code"? (spoiler: yes it is, assuming she doesn't mean source code; and she probably doesn't mean source code, being Amber Rudd and all).

    The whole thing smells like a ranty soundbite. Designed, presumably, to appeal to the Tory faithful at the annual conference. And to get Rudd a few column inches about being tough on terrorism while conveniently skipping over all the detail of how that might work. Perhaps it will also take the spotlight off her recent contempt of court travails.

    Amber Rudd and the liberal-arts-educated political and Civil Service elite would do well to pay more attention and respect to technical experts generally. Rather than treading on toes every time she opens her mouth.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: From the BBC article

      Basically what the leaked statutory instrument already says - she wants companies to build in near real-time backdoors. That's what working with the government means.

    2. Phil W

      Re: From the BBC article

      "It's not very clear what she means here. Work with them how?"

      Unfortunately she doesn't know what she means either.

      It's the same situation management and IT,and likely other technical departments, face daily.

      Management ask for something to be done, IT say it can't be done and/or doesn't work like that. Management say "You're not being very helpful".

      1. Naselus

        Re: From the BBC article

        "Management ask for something to be done, IT say it can't be done and/or doesn't work like that. Management say "You're not being very helpful"."

        That's because the correct response to management asking for something to be done is to agree completely and then tell them how much it would cost. Management will then calculate how much this will reduce their bonus for the year, and will quietly drop the impossible tasks. Their requests re usually not actually impossible anyway - if it's not a function of an existing bit of software, then just price up a bit of software that will do it, or figure out how much they'd have to spend to get it custom-written.

        Remember, when management asks you if something can be done, they are not asking you if it can be done affordably. They think that's their decision, not yours. This allows them to feel they are contributing, despite having no relevant skills or useful knowledge. That's also most of the point of management coming to meetings, too.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Amber Rudd - this will cost you your job

          Keep behaving like this and you will lose your seat.

          You'll also lose your home, your bank account and driving licence, because somebody will get the secret key and use it to take everything you hold dear away from you.

        2. Phil W

          Re: From the BBC article

          "Remember, when management asks you if something can be done, they are not asking you if it can be done affordably. They think that's their decision, not yours."

          Sure, but there are plenty of things that quite literally can't be done but management don't understand that.

          Or the thing they want done is extremely costly and/or time consuming and you warn of this, but they assume that you're just being "unhelpful" and proceed anyway. Only to complain later that said thing has taken a long time or cost too much.

          This is why it's important to have managers who understand what they're managing, not just managers who know how to managers. Managers who don't understand the field they're managing, and ignore the "unhelpful" feedback from their underlings tend to make poor decisions.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: From the BBC article

            Remember, some requests are impossible because they are contradictory rather than actually impossible.

            For example, I want to be able to access the company's secure document area from anywhere in the world, from any device without having to log in, but it also has to be secure from everyone else.

            Or: I want you to put a back door into your encryption process that only I, and a couple of hundred other government departments, can use.

    3. Eponymous Cowherd
      Facepalm

      Re: From the BBC article

      That was in reply to Michael Beckerman trying (badly, I might add) to explain that encryption is just maths and that it's piss-easy to roll your own.

      I'm guessing that she thinks that if you have "the code" you can control encryption, completely missing the point that "the code" is just an implementation of a mathematical function and can be implemented in a huge number of ways.

      And she wonders why us techies sneer at her? Could it be because it is eminently justified?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: From the BBC article

      "I am not suggesting you give us the code,"

      Which only adds to her display of ignorance. Some encryption code is readily available if you want it and even for proprietary code either it will use publicly available algorithms or the TLAs will be with home-grown alternatives. It's the keys that matter and for real end-to-end not even the vendor will have those. But the thing that matters most of all is the extent to which encryption is essential to the security of everyday commercial life and that the damage she can wreak there vastly exceeds what terrorists are attempting to do. It is she that is trying to help the criminals and everyone else who is trying to stop her.

  16. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Appealing to the audience

    The trick that politicians are pulling again and again is appealing to the audience. Rebuffing expert criticism is an integral part of this tactic. The speaker makes then connection between A and B (here end-to-end encryption and terrorism) so that any criticism is perceived by the audience as an attempt to undermine security. Amber Rudd almost certainly understands the oxymoron of end-to-end encryption with a backdoor but she knows that her audience almost certainly doesn't. If she aligns herself with her audience any criticism of her arguments will be perceived as criticism of the goal – greater security – and those who want it.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Appealing to the audience

      #AmberRudd#Security

      Making a right hash of it too.

  17. Filippo

    The policy algorithm

    Ask something. If you don't like the answer, ask again. If the algorithm times out, complain about sneering experts.

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A blonde , female, politician

      "she will be considered as brain dead as the current occupant of No. 10."

      Don't forget the current occupant of No 10 is the Home Sec in power. Once they get the HO post they become Home Secs for life.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: A blonde , female, politician

        "Don't forget the current occupant of No 10 is the Home Sec in power. Once they get the HO post they become Home Secs for life."

        Why am I suddenly reminded of the Stepford Wives film?

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: A blonde , female, politician

          Original or remake?

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: A blonde , female, politician

            There's a remake?

            Blimey, they'll be re-making Roots or Gone With The Wind next.

    2. cbars

      Re: A blonde , female, politician

      The current occupant of No. 10 is a judged as a moron by her previous actions/words - not because she's a woman. Don't be a prick and create more evidence of sexism in tech.

      You can't hope to influence the public/politicians, or any critical thinking commentard with that sort of rubbish. Amber Rudd is also a moron, and I do sneer - but not because of anything other than her ideas and failed (deliberately or not) articulation.

      If you missed off the Joke Icon then I apologise and revise my comment to: that's a rubbish joke.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: A blonde , female, politician

        Sorry, I missed off the joke icon; my brain meds make me a bit fuzzy in the mornings.

        As for the humour level - each to their own; after my brain surgery I will be wearing a "T" shirt says Hnk If Yuv had brian sugery"; I expect some people wont find that funny either; but to me (and many others) humour is a coping mechanism.

        It is either bad jokes or despair at how totally brain dead our entire, power grubbing, small minded, political elite have become.

        (The icon is how I feel right now)

        1. cbars

          Re: A blonde , female, politician

          Each to their own indeed. Please consider the swear retracted.

          This might not be the most appropriate forum for certain varieties of humour; just as Frankie Boyle would not go down well in a hospital/synagogue/funeral/family gathering.......

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: A blonde , female, politician

            If anyone ever thinks I'm being sexist/racist/etc. then I just tell them that I draw no distinction between such things....but an arsehole is still an arsehole regardless.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

    You stupid, stupid cow. If you don't understand technology, you're unfit to hold high office, and unfit to propose new legislation that affects tech. Nothing personal in this, the rest of your cabinet colleagues are no better, just a bunch of self interested, clueless arts and humanities graduates, with no knowledge of science, technology, defence or commerce (alight, correction, Davis has a science degree, Fox has a medical degree, but in terms of balance you remain a bunch of people far more versed in history, classics, PPE, and the faux science of economics). Worst of them all is that idiot we have for a prime minister, hiding away from voters, totally out of touch with people, and now (entirely through her own fault) not having a safely workable majority, despite the Labour party fighting the election as a bunch of unelectable marxist freaks.

    And it isn't going to get any better. When you wake up and understand that the characterless Mrs May will never win an outright majority, there will be another squalid little fight to become the leader of the Conservative party. The two people most likely to be in with a chance are sadly yourself, and that disgusting rich buffoon, Johnson, with his really useful degree in classics. And all the time you shower of piss are struggling ineffectually over Brexit, where your inherently spineless characters are revealed time and again.

    By the time we get to the next election, will the Conservative party have a credible manifesto? Will you twats have realised that the people who do or might vote conservative don't support your crappy energy policies, your moronic waste on foreign aid, that we want the House of Lords reformed to be something useful and democratic, not a club stuffed full of politicians' talent free chums, that HS2 is a complete waste of money. Will you be in control of migration, or will we continue to need to build the equivalent of a city the size of Coventry every year until we run out of land?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

      "By the time we get to the next election, will the Conservative party have a credible manifesto?"

      The only monster raving loony who didn't stand in my constituency in the last general election is the one belonging to the official monster raving loony party. Pity, because I would have voted for him this time round...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

        "The only monster raving loony who didn't stand in my constituency in the last general election is the one belonging to the official monster raving loony party."

        IIRC Screaming Lord Sutch complained that over the years the mainstream political parties had quietly stolen several of the Monster Raving Loonies' policies.

    2. Allonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

      That careered a bit off topic, but wow. Have an upvote for Rant Of The Day.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

        As OP AC, I say thank you. Rant, certainly, but I didn't feel I was too off topic, though.

        I did wonder about putting my pseud against it, but decided not to, although some may immediately see through the prose.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

      >By the time we get to the next election, will the Conservative party have a credible manifesto?

      Didn't they drop the entire manifesto before they had even formed a government this time. Is there any possibility (especially with serial liar Johnson potentially in charge) that we can believe anything that it contains?

    4. Kurt Meyer

      Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

      @ AC

      AC, while I agree with your assessment of the current crop of Conservative Party clowns, (from an across the Atlantic perspective), I am somewhat sceptical with regard to your focus on the type of degree possessed any given individual.

      Talent will out, it is said, and while these people all seem to have a degree of some sort, they do not seem to have any talent beyond that required to gain, and perhaps retain, high office.

      I say a degree (of any sort) is immaterial, or as near as dammit. What England, or any other country for that matter, needs from it's leadership is talent above all else. A degree may be useful, but in the opinion of many, it is not necessary.

      I have no doubt that some of the readership will disagree with this contention, in defense of which I offer this example.

      A hard act to follow, by all accounts.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Re: I'm going to keep sneering, Amber

        Indeed, Kurt. In my opinion, part of the current crisis in Western politics is that there are too many politicians with degrees, who have never actually worked in a "real" job. They don't know what it is like to live below a comfortable life, and they have rarely had to interact with people who have other opinions and motivations. The traditional Labour party made it possible for working class people to enter Parliament and have their voices heard, and the country was better for it. Sadly, this is not going to happen again.

  20. Peter Cochrane

    Fashionanle Ignorance

    At what point in our society did it become acceptable to declare your own ignorance and be proud not to know something so fundamental.

    It seems to be a British management disease, and perhaps the ultimate arrogance, to suppose you can manage things you do not understand. Her stance on encryption is a classic example - has she got hold of the worng end of the stick or what!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

      "At what point in our society did it become acceptable to declare your own ignorance and be proud not to know something so fundamental."

      A very long time ago. In fact, I'm not sure there ever was a time this side of the middle ages where knowledge other than legal knowledge was essential. In the middle ages a talent for violence was also handy.

      1. Mad Mike

        Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

        @Doctor Syntax.

        "In the middle ages a talent for violence was also handy."

        This would solve all the problem now. All the experts being ignored could remove the problem permanently.........

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Mad Mike

          Not convinced the solution you and Amber propose will work. If you use violence to get rid of the politicians (or the experts) they will be replaced by people who are more ignorant.

          1. Mad Mike

            Re: Mad Mike

            @Flocke Kroes

            "Not convinced the solution you and Amber propose will work. If you use violence to get rid of the politicians (or the experts) they will be replaced by people who are more ignorant."

            Youi may be right. However, it would enable people to release their pent up anger and thus become less stressed, which can only be a good thing. Also, if politicians were replaced by people more ignorant, continuing with the eradication policy would do more to raise the average IQ of the country than the education system ever has.

            I vote for putting it all on telly as well. Prime time viewing.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

        "In the middle ages a talent for violence was also handy."

        Westminster House of Commons still has a formal separation between the benches of the opposing parties that inhibits sword fights. There are apparently two red lines denoting the point beyond which swords would be able to engage.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

          "Westminster House of Commons still has a formal separation between the benches of the opposing parties that inhibits sword fights."

          The pegs in the cloakrooms also have loops for hanging up members' swords.

    2. Allonymous Coward

      Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

      I vaguely remember from my PRINCE2 certification (shows you how much I use it) that one of the supposed strengths of the framework was that it was portable across all types of different projects. Whether that was canning soup or building an online service.

      So it wouldn't surprise me if people brought up in the public sector management tradition do think they can manage stuff they don't understand. Or apply the same rules to two totally different projects.

      And you know what, they're right in some ways. On a large enough project, management isn't going to know everything. One key to success is realising what you don't know, listening to and empowering (sorry) the people who do know, to do the right thing. Another key to success is building mutual respect with the technical experts so they give you good advice and information.

      Based on what's in the media, Amber Rudd appears to be pretty bad at both these things.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

        "Another key to success is building mutual respect with the technical experts so they give you good advice and information."

        That's only half of it. The other half is that management should heed that advice and information. Not just listen to it, heed it.

    3. Mike Richards

      Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

      Long time ago.

      Countless politicians and columnists have proudly said on Question Time 'I don't know anything about science - BUT [pick one] genetically modified foods are dangerous / nuclear power is unsafe / the climate isn't changing / vaccines cause autism / ...'

      Pretty sure Melanie Phillips will have said all of those, possibly in the same answer (to a question about house prices).

      1. AdamWill

        One of these things is not like the others

        Er....nuclear power (at least, nuclear fission) *is*, demonstrably, unsafe in practice:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster#Event_rating

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster#Human_impact

        https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-does-the-us-do-with-nuclear-waste/

        Other forms of power generation are, of course, 'unsafe' in their own ways, some more than others. But suggesting some kind of equivalence between the claims that 'vaccines cause autism' and 'nuclear power is unsafe' is patently absurd.

        The same can almost be said for genetic modification of food; of course many claims that we know for sure it's incredibly dangerous are wildly overblown, but claims that it's certainly safe are almost equally dodgy. The truth is there's nowhere near enough data to be really sure what various long-term impacts of it will be, but one lobby wants everyone to pretend it'll all definitely be fine and we should just go ahead and genetically engineer the shit out of everything, while another lobby wants everyone to somehow revert to a state of pastoral bliss that never existed, and sane people who would like some sort of rational compromise involving careful scientific investigation get stuck in the middle.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Fashionanle Ignorance

      he ultimate arrogance, to suppose you can manage things you do not understand

      It's a holdover (or modern form of) the aristocratic mindset. Why bother to spend the time to understand something when you can get in a disposable peon to do it for you?

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      "what point in..society..acceptable to declare your own ignorance..be proud not to know something"

      My study of the British suggests among the Upper Classes it's been "forever"?

      While "The Lower Orders" have striven to behave like their "betters" and adopted a similar disdain for knowledge in most forms.

      Ever noticed how the British tend to pronounce "intellectual" (with or without the air quotes) with a sneer?

      I'm not sure who coined the term "The arrogance of ignorance" but it certainly applies to a significant sector of the "ruling" class.

  21. james 68

    Orwell alert!

    "Later today the Home Secretary is expected to announced that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in jail."

    That's one way to deal with those pesky journalists who think they can observe and report on terrorism instead of just regurgitating the party line then. Next up: Remainers websites to be classed as "terrorist content".

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Orwell alert!

      I'm worried.

      I must have viewed well over 72 "virgins" on the internet by now.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Orwell alert!

        Is that today's total or lifetime?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Is that today's total or lifetime?

          Neither. That's the Monday to Friday count. After that, it's a weekend.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Orwell alert!

        Twitch doesn't count btw.

    2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Orwell alert!

      Hello... Did someone call my name?

      Look, lets not fool ourselves here any longer. I've seen some people ask why the war against encryption is a thing; the governments response is "because terrorism, ofc!". This has led others to ask why there isn't a similar approach to cars, knives, the postal service or anything else that terrorists have demonstrably used in terror attacks. Furthermore, we are told that mass surveillance and intrusion into our private comms. is essential "because terrorism, ofc", despite the evidence being that such terrorists are often "known to the security services" or used unencrypted messaging (as in the Bataclan and Westminster attacks) or runners with notes (as in AQ and ISIS known methodology).

      When our tech experts poke their head above the parapet to question the move against encryption, when political analysts suggest that perhaps government policy is off the mark, when the EUHCR and the supreme courts rule against surveillance and when intelligence specialists criticize government strategy the answer is changed to "we're BORED WITH EXPERTS, isn't EVERYONE? Eh?!"

      This isn't about terrorism, is it? This is about social control. This is about freedom of speech and association. Most of all, this is about the internet and modern communications. It *terrifies* the powers-that-be.

      The internet is without borders, at least in the traditional geopolitical sense. It facilitates instant communication and thus, instant coordination of like-minded persons. It sees censorship as a fault and routes around it. It cannot be taxed. It cannot be silenced. It is beyond the control of politicians.

      And that's why they denigrate it and seek to undermine it. Its why they want to censor it and monitor it, because, like the printing press before it, the freedom of knowledge and interchange of ideas that it represents; the very evolution of thought that is the inevitable consequence of so many people freely communicating, is the harbinger of the end of "traditional politics".

      Their politics. Their power.

      So, we must defend net neutrality, we must resist censorship and state control, we must celebrate our freedom of speech and association, and we must retain our encryption and develop the right to be forgotten. It's that, or we allow a tiny elite minority to determine all those things for us.

      Except it won't be for us. It'll be for them. Which is just how they've had it for centuries.

      1. james 68

        Re: Orwell alert!

        @Bernard M. Orwell

        You sir are both erudite and aptly named. I doff my hat to your eloquent and veridical observation.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Orwell alert!

        @Mr Orwell, I would gladly donate a thousand of my very own upvotes to this post. In fact it should be stickied :)

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Orwell alert!

          Mr James, Mr Spoon; thank you very much!

          Really must get a blog going one day...

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: Orwell alert!

            "Really must get a blog going one day..."

            Am I allowed to do this here? Sorry if not!

            https://orwell.blog

  22. RockBurner

    I daresay she can't operate a ratchet spanner either. May as well ban them too, it's the same concept.

    1. Mad Mike

      @Rockburner.

      Glad I re-read your posting. For a second there, I thought you were calling her a ratchet spanner. 10 out of 10 for restraint.

      1. Snapper

        No, a ratchet spanner actually has a use.

  23. TRT Silver badge

    Of course it can be done...

    unencrypted communication. Not a problem. After all, it helps the armed forces. And it helps the security services too. And law enforcement. But we can do without those, can't we? HPE certainly think so.

  24. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "We will take advice from other people"

    No you won't.

    (In the absence of an explicit FOAD icon) -->

  25. Jimboom

    I see what you are doing there...

    Coming soon.

    All websites/blogs/social media accounts with views/comments that specifically challenge or go against what the government is saying are creating a sense of fear within said officials, therefore one might say they are "terrorist content".

    When all these "terrorists" are locked up Ruddy-Bottom will finally be able to speak in public once more without being sneered at.

    Won't someone think of the poor politicians!

    1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

      Re: I see what you are doing there...

      "All websites/blogs/social media accounts with views/comments that specifically challenge or go against what the government is saying are creating a sense of fear within said officials, therefore one might say they are "terrorist content".

      Not far from the truth, I fear. The current definition of terrorism, as found below, certainly would allow the prohibition of almost anything that the government doesn't like. Pay careful attention to the words used, especially the word "influencing". Just about anything can be called an "influence" and "force" can mean public pressure, popularism, or any kind of movement of persons or ideas - not just limited to actual, physical force. They may say that they MEANT only physical force, but this is a legal document and language in law should be/is an exacting thing. Be wary of such weasel-words.

      "acts of terrorism" means acts of persons acting on behalf of, or in connection with, any organisation which carries out activities directed towards the overthrowing or influencing, by force or violence, of Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom or any other government de jure or de facto.

      Terrorism Act 2000 - Wikipedia

      [Source] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_Act_2000

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I see what you are doing there...

        ""acts of terrorism" means acts of persons acting on behalf of, or in connection with, any organisation which carries out activities directed towards the overthrowing or influencing, by force or violence, of Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom or any other government de jure or de facto."

        That sounds like the foreign state in Rome that my MP keeps telling me are directing his voting against various social equality acts. If he doesn't obey them then he obviously feels he would be a doomed outcast from their organisation.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: I see what you are doing there...

        After deconstructing that sentence, the pivotal aspect appears to be

        "by force or violence".

        So, as long as whatever you are watching doesn't involve force or violence it shouldn't fall foul of this definition. Well, that's the theory. I don't suspect for a minute that it will actually hold true.

  26. frank ly Silver badge

    Sauce for the gander

    Has anyone asked Amber Rudd what she thinks of Boris Johnson and others using WhatsApp?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-leaked-whatsapp-screenshots-theresa-may-general-election-leadership-challenge-a7784981.html

    Perhaps Boris Johnson counts as an 'organ of the state' and so it's ok for him to use such technology?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Sauce for the gander

      Perhaps Boris Johnson counts as an 'organ of the state' ...

      Is the ambiguity in that phrase deliberate or pure accident?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Eponymous Cowherd

      Re: Sauce for the gander

      Oh, Boris is an organ all right.

      An organ of genital origin and indeterminate sex.

      Some days he's a huge cock, others he's an enormous, errm, ladygarden.

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Some days he's a huge cock, others he's an enormous, errm, ladygarden.

        Lady Garden sits on the Lib Dem benches in the Lords.

    3. frank ly Silver badge

      @Commswonk Re: Sauce for the gander

      One of my hobbies is feeding lines to people. (See Eponymous Cowherd)

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right

    automatically = having failed to even try to educate yourself about something you're supposed to make decisions about, and talking porkies as a result of this systematic failure, yes.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you sneer at her...

    but she draws the rules. So who's the ultimate sneerer? :/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: you sneer at her...

      "but she draws the rules."

      Parliament only governs by the consent of the people. Ultimately though it requires the police and armed services to say they will not subject a protesting public to violence in support of a dictatorial government.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you sneer at her...

        Parliament only governs by the consent of the people.

        On paper. But if you recall the widespread opposition to the Iraq war, I'd say that proves that Parliament do what they want, with and often without the consent of the people. And, were it not for Cameron trying to head off UKIP in the 2015 election, the population would not even have been asked for their consent to the continuing EU integration. Likewise, recall how both Brown and Cameron promised a vote on the Lisbon treaty, and then decided that they didn't need a vote at all, as soon as they thought they could get away with it. I'd suggest that there's nowhere near universal support for our wildly expensive energy policy, but that's never really been consented to by the population.

        Of course, you could say that anything that was vaguely in an election manifesto has consent if that party wins, but with an effectively two party system, we don't often have the luxury of any real choice.

        1. Dave Schofield

          Re: you sneer at her...

          >On paper. But if you recall the widespread opposition to the Iraq war, I'd say that proves that Parliament do what they want, with and often without the consent of the people.

          For fairness, opinion polls were mostly in favour of the Iraq War at the time. With time that has shifted against it. But we all know how good opinion polls are.

          1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

            Re: you sneer at her...

            American polls showed the overwhelming majority of the public supported the coming war on Iraq. In the UK the polls showed north of 50% opposed, south of 40% in favour, often greater opposition. Europe was even more against.

            It did depended on whether one was talking about a UN sanctioned war or the GWB-Blair regime change plan. My recollection is that opposition grew as it became obvious that 'Bliar' was determined to play poodle to Bush.

            The most obvious issue I can think of which has parliament at odds with the electorate is the death penalty. I imagine we'll be seeing that back after brexit :(

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's OK to not understand encryption - it's a difficult subject.

    You propose things in public that have been demonstrated to be beyond the limits of possibility. You've been told this before. Yet you keep asking in public for magic technologies that can't be made.

    You are a grown up with the resources of an entire government department backing you. You therefore appear to be unable to find competent technical advice on this subject. As a government minister, finding competent advisors is (or should be) one of your key skills. If this is beyond you it suggests that you are not competent.

    But that's not really the case, is it? This whole fiasco is not about whether you understand encryption or not - the whole thing is a diversion. You (or more correctly, some of the people advising you) are very aware of what you're aiming at. It's fully backdoored access to the encrypted communications of the general public, and framing it as counter terrorism is merely a convenient means of achieving that goal. You will moan and fuss about creating magic encryption that allows governments to snoop but no-one else, all the while pushing companies further into a corner, so that backdoors are created anyway and damn the consequences.

    The more fuss you can make about experts sneering at you, or technology companies refusing to work with you, the more you can hoodwink the general public into not trusting the technology experts. And if the general public don't listen to the technology experts there will be no-one to inform them of the full implications of what you're doing - an end to privacy, an end to private life, and the birth of a fully automated police state.

    Don't believe me?

    "Later today the Home Secretary is expected to announced that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in jail"

    Yes, thoughtcrime really is going to be a thing now.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      "Yet you keep asking in public for magic technologies that can't be made."

      Isn't that like every government IT system ever? They don't have a very good track record of success.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's very simple. She's discrediting the opposition

      The more fuss you can make about experts sneering at you, or technology companies refusing to work with you, the more you can hoodwink the general public into not trusting the technology experts.

      If the opposition has an unbeatable argument, attack their personality or morals instead.

    3. Naselus

      "As a government minister, finding competent advisors is (or should be) one of your key skills"

      I have no idea what has given you that idea. As far as I can tell, the key skills for a government minister are shameless self-promotion and the ability to avoid taking responsibility for failures.

      See, for example, Theresa May, who excelled at these two things as Home Secretary, to the point hat no-one noticed that she has literally no other recognizable skills whatsoever. If the definition for success for a minister is to become Prime Minister (which most of them seem to feel it is), then May has been tremendously successful as a minister. If it was to actually achieve anything, then she was an abysmal failure. But no-one was talking about her as a failure prior to June of this year; few people pointed to her laundry list of failed policies and missed targets at the Home Office. So clearly, actual achievements are not really a priority, and therefore having competent advisors is simply not relevant - a happy accident when it occurs, but hardly as important as a good spin doctor to hide your failures and promote your semi-triumphs as great acts of political genius.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        @Naselus

        To survive it is not necessary to out run a tiger. You only need to out run the person next to you.

        This applies equally well with becoming Prime Minister and competence.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Naselus

          "[...] and therefore having competent advisors is simply not relevant [...]"

          Wasn't it Theresa May who sacked the experts on the Drug Advisory Panel when they presented her with facts contrary to the Government's "War On Drugs" policies.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Theresa May, who excelled at these two things as Home Secretary, to the point hat no-one noticed that she has literally no other recognizable skills whatsoever."

        Wrong. Lots of us noticed.

  30. Mad Mike

    Dim isn't anywhere near right

    You don't need to understand encryption at any level to understand why breaking it isn't a good idea. You just need to have a brain and a small amount of logical thought.

    When transacting services online (let's say buying something), you need encryption to secure the transaction and provide non-repudiation. Otherwise, everyone can just insist it wasn't them. Obviously, encryption doesn't do it all, but it does the secure communication bit. So, therefore, if you allow anyone to break the encrpytion, every transaction becomes questionable. Bang goes your online economy!!

    Now, that didn't require any thought beyond that found lurking in the average pond. All goes to show that Amber Rudd is not the missing link, but something far further back. Perhaps she's just crawled out of the primordial soup. If she keeps getting in, says something about the voters in Hastings and uselessness of our electoral system.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Dim isn't anywhere near right

      If she keeps getting in, says something about the voters in Hastings and uselessness of our electoral system.

      I think that is genuinely wrong; the voters can only vote for candidates to stand, and who is to say that the other candidates weren't even worse? I also fail to see how the electoral system can be blamed; however you might tinker with it if the candidates are all dunderheads then a dunderhead will be elected.

      Being an MP (or SoS or Minister) must be one of the very few jobs (if not the only one) where some decent substantive knowledge of something relevant* isn't an essential requirement; what matters is adherence to the party line at a local level, leavened with more brown - nosing than I could ever hope to achieve. (Yuck!)

      I cannot see how any sort of fundamental "competence" test could be applied; who would set the standards? Other politicians, I fear, so there is no prospect of a change of the better any time soon.

      * "Relevant" does not include PPE, along with numerous others...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dim isn't anywhere near right

        "I think that is genuinely wrong; the voters can only vote for candidates to stand, and who is to say that the other candidates weren't even worse? "

        A friend in Rudd's constituency has met several people who regretted not doing a tactical vote when they saw the narrow win margin. There was a lot of ABC*** voting in the general election - but Labour shouldn't count on that happening next time if the Tories look likely to lose anyway.

        ***ABC - Anyone But Conservative

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Dim isn't anywhere near right

          Some of us are ABL but get told to vote for L but refuse.

          Mind you don't like U either.

          OK I tend to like the centrist MPs regardless of party

    2. ibmalone Silver badge

      Re: Dim isn't anywhere near right

      So, therefore, if you allow anyone to break the encrpytion, every transaction becomes questionable. Bang goes your online economy!!

      You've missed the bit where the magic wand will be available only to the Home Secretary when the press is screaming for it, and will not be leaked/stolen/abused/circumvented within the first week. It's fine, everything is fine.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    leave the poor woman alone

    she's only a POLITICIAN, WHAT do you expect?! Reasoning?! Learning?! Common sense?!

    ...

    in fact, she's remarkably consistent in her thought processes, if you look back at all the Home Secretaries over the last, what, 25 years... remarkably consistent :(

  32. Lysenko

    Next up ...

    ... physicists!! Aircraft keep crashing causing the deaths of hundreds of innocent travelers, including (think of the) children and physicists just callously sneer and flatly refuse to change G !! They cooked up the gravitational constant in the first place so they should damn well change it when democratically elected authorities tell them to!!

    Oh, and anyone mentioning one time pads and the fact that a 128Gb thumb drive of random junk gives you a lifetime of absolutely uncrackable point to point encryption is publishing information likely to be useful to terrorists. You have been warned ....

  33. Mike Richards

    It's important to remember

    That whichever idiot is Home Secretary at the time, the Home Office will continue to be a monster seeking ever more intrusive powers for itself.

    It likes someone fronting the show who won't ask questions and who has no relevant experience (Amber Rudd, Jackie Smith) because then it can fill whatever passes for their minds with soothing words about how just a few more powers will secure the state. And they happily go along with it

    If that person is also a genuinely nasty piece of work with an authoritarian streak as wide as the M4 (Jack Straw, David Blunkett etc) - so much the better, tabloid editors and readers alike enjoy jerking off to hard men sneering at liberals and human rights.

    If the puppet falls, don't worry, another ambitious mediocrity hot-wired to the Murdoch press will be along to fill their shoes.

    Quick question - last decent Home Secretary? Ken Clarke possibly or perhaps we have to go all the way back to Roy Jenkins.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: It's important to remember

      Some of those were nasty pieces of work, but what did Ken Clarke manage as HS? I mainly remember him as Chancellor and member of best PMs we never had club.

      1. A K Stiles

        Re: It's important to remember

        Is that the club chaired by the late John Smith ?

  34. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    But this isn't a new area for legislation

    "... there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas ..."

    I remember people patiently explaining to politicians why this was a stupid idea in 1993, so it is hardly new. The idea has come up again and again since then and I am sure there are grey beards among us who remember pointing out the same issues to Julius Caesar and Gilgamesh.

    "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping – end-to-end encryption – the criminals."

    Perhaps the NSA are a bunch of criminals, but I am not convinced that is what really she meant. After spouting this non-sense months ago, she has had plenty of time to listen and understand. As she has just stated she has not learned anything (and didn't even try) all we can do for now provide sarcasm and ridicule with the faint hope that she will be replaced by someone less wilfully clueless.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: But this isn't a new area for legislation

      "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping – end-to-end encryption – the criminals."

      What needs to be fed back against this is that it's simply a tool and like any other tool, has its good and bad uses. In this case its good use is the securing of everyday commercial transactions. In trying to destroy it you are helping criminals Home Secretary.

  35. Lee D Silver badge

    Gosh, maybe we shouldn't expect someone trying to draft laws about something to actually understand what they're drafting laws about and not make ridiculous claims?

    Whether you're a techy or not, if you're drafting laws, you CALL IN EXPERTS. That's what you do. You don't just make up things that sound good. And if those experts are telling you that your plans are rubbish, untenable, have knock-on effects, etc. then maybe you should listen to them rather than put fingers in ears and go "La, la, la, can't hear you".

    This is what annoys me most about modern so-called democracy. People without a single clue are just as likely to end up in a job as someone who actually knows what they're doing. I never get why ministers of various things have ZERO BACKGROUND in those industries/areas.

    "We have consulted with experts, and they advise us that this isn't the best way to go about things, so we will look for other solutions". What the hell is negative about that sentence?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Whether you're a techy or not, if you're drafting laws, you CALL IN EXPERTS.

      But they do; unfortunately they are experts in drafting laws, not experts in what the law in question is actually trying to address.

      "We have consulted with experts, and they advise us that this isn't the best way to go about things, so we will look for other solutions". What the hell is negative about that sentence?

      Nothing negative, but from a politician's viewpoint it's simply wrong. Their approach is

      "We have consulted with experts, and they advise us that this isn't the best way to go about things, so we will look for other solutions experts."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "But they do; unfortunately they are experts in drafting laws, not experts in what the law in question is actually trying to address."

        They are not even that. The work to actually draft the law takes far longer than has been allowed since at least 1997.

        What successive governments have done is assumed that the most vocal insider lobbyists are "experts" in the subject. So you get the draft bill's aims prepared by people with a vested interest. They generally either water down any safety regulations - or in the case of "morality" judgements they usually try to make them draconian. The composition of such co-opted "helpers" reflects the minister's prejudices.

        When the draft bill is published for public consultation there is then an uphill struggle of damage limitation to get something more sensible into the final act.

        The loose drafting then opens up avenues for law enforcement agencies to push the limits - needing defendants' Appeal Court judgements to establish case law protection.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Mike Ozanne

    Well if they upfront admitted that they don't understand either the issue and the tech and called for advice they would likely be less sneering... But here she's repeating the MO, she wants to do something, "to stop criminals" without understanding *anything* about the issue or how anything works, or the chances of success, or the likely response and evolution of the threat, or the consequences and response of non-criminal users, but expects not to be sneered at.

    If she wants a grown up response she needs to stop behaving like a petulant child and develop some adult thought processes and behaviours.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's all Good Guys v Bad Guys, hey Amber? So easy to define in your little World.

    Worth a read from today's Guardian. Police Officers Wahid Husman and Tahsib Majid receive total of 31 years for breaching intelligence systems.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/02/west-midlands-police-officers-jailed-plot-steal-sell-drugs

  38. aenikata

    Apparently we've still had enough of experts...

    What bothers me is that when you're in charge of a significant area of policy-making, not just for an SME, but for a major world power, that you don't think it's important that you have a very firm grasp of the subject, or that if you don't (because if the scope is too broad you can't be an expert on everything) that your opinion shouldn't be to defer to the experts.

    With all the talk from Gove about us having all had enough of experts and dismissive responses from this to ignoring the advice from their own experts on changing drugs policies, it's clear that many of the current politicians, however bright and well educated, don't have sufficient grasp of how much they don't know, or care more about winning votes and pushing populist policies regardless of mounting analysis indicating that their preferred policy is not in the best interests of society as a whole.

    Clearly, I'm in favour of ensuring that our front bench politicians have some knowledge about the areas they're in charge of, but when that's not the case (i.e. most of the time), then they should be expected to set up expert groups with a specific agreement that they won't only listen when it fits their policies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apparently we've still had enough of experts...

      A young friend did Economics at university. They were also offered some modules from other degree courses - which would widen their knowledge while not really counting towards their own degree. My friend did a module on Politics - which was a mandatory module for PPE students. He was surprised how poorly the PPE students performed on that module - compared to the mathematical Economics students.

  39. ITnoob

    She knows full well that what she is demanding regarding encryption is impossible but she also knows that her core, target voters are ignorant of this.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Attributing to others the sins we commit ourselves

      On the surface politicians sound thicker than a salted slug. It is hard for techies to believe such monumental levels of incompetence are even possible. Perhaps there is an ulterior motive. Perhaps it is just an act. Techies are bright enough to find such motives, like ignorance is more easily forgiven than corruption. Because we can think of such things we attribute the ability to do likewise to others.

      May called for a general election two years early. I think that confirms the salted slug theory.

  40. Ian Reissmann

    In one sense Rudd is right. She does not need to understand cryptography.

    What she does need is to listen to the advice of security experts who will explain to her what is feasible and what is not.

    If she has an expert advising her who claims PKI can be weakened or outlawed, let Rudd put him/her forward to explain how this would work.

    No. I thought not.

  41. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
    Boffin

    I sneer at people who claim they've talked to the fairies at the bottom of their garden.

    I sneer at people that claim the earth is flat.

    I sneer at politicians who claim that we can rewrite the laws of mathematics because, bad things.

    Do, or do not, There is no try!

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Joke

      I sneer at people who claim they've talked to the fairies at the bottom of their garden.

      I have, lots of times. As a kid doing all sorts of "experiments" in the garden shed. Pretty sure a couple of those guys well-qualified for "fairy" even at 14!

  42. Jim 59

    On topic, I don't think Rudd needs to understand encryption to a deep level for her job, so long as she gets the relevant principles, many of which are stated in the above comments.

    15 years for reading terrorist literature on the Internet ? A tad OTT ?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in jail' WTF! How about researcher?. How can a government have experts to get advice from? Oh wait. They don't need experts do they.

  44. adam payne Silver badge

    "We will take advice from other people but I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right,"

    I understand that you might not understand everything to do with encryption but shouldn't you at least have people you can advise you so that you can get it right?

  45. RockBurner

    If I'm reading this right.....

    "acts of terrorism" means acts of persons acting on behalf of, or in connection with, any organisation which carries out activities directed towards the overthrowing or influencing, by force or violence, of Her Majesty's government in the United Kingdom or any other government de jure or de facto.

    Terrorism Act 2000 - Wikipedia

    Then driving your car into a herd of people isn't terrorism. Shooting a copper isn't terrorism, etc etc, UNTIL some muppet claims that it was supposedly contrary to the UK Government's influence.

    Doesn't this actually mean that invoking the Terrorism Act is illegal, until that communique comes through, because no act is terrorism until it's proven to be "... directed towards the overthrowing or influencing, by force or violence, of Her Majesty's government...".

    Maybe I'm just being picky...

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Maybe I'm just being picky...

      I voted against the encumbant government in NZ's recent election. In the movie "Starship Troopers" the teach near the beginning defines voting as a form of force.

      How screwed am'I?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Voting is indeed a form of force, it is a substitute for force.

        For example, if you no longer had the vote, or your vote simply doesn't count for anything, then the only recourse you might have to make your voice heard is some form of violence (against property/people or ideology).

        Why do you think they keep trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and make them think that their votes actually mean something? The day the electorate wakes up and realises this obvious reality is the day we see the thin veneer of civilization ripped apart and burnt in the streets.

        The people in power who are creating this situation treat anyone 'not them' as the enemy and that ,my friends, means me and thee.

  46. fakington1

    No need to sneer Amber; we'll just automate you out of a job. Then maybe we'll teach you to learn to engage with areas of life you don't understand, rather than arrogantly ignore them.

    Represent the people much?

  47. James Burton

    Ignorance is no excuse

    Understanding only one small piece of a situation is far from enough to start legislating, especially when these are massive and harmful steps that the experts are advising against. This moronic minister should take a moment to wonder why the entire tech community is sneering, and she might realise she's creating more problems than she's singing, but instead her arrogant ignorance leads her to try to trample on civil liberties, robust online systems and various other protected and important rights and systems.

  48. earl grey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I sense a disturbance in the stupid

    Oh never mind; it's just politicians with their yobs open.

  49. JaitcH
    FAIL

    I Thought MAY Was Technically Ignorant But ...

    this RUDD woman makes MAY look like a PHD.

    Dumb and dumber.

  50. Milton Silver badge

    Sneering is well justified

    If you don't know WTF you're talking about, Ms Rudd—and that's a problem that extends well beyond your ignorance of tech to many other topics, and well beyond yourself to many other mouths-on-sticks in Westminster—then Shut The F**k Up.

    Techies and experts of many other stripes—the same people that another odious little Toryturd, Michael Gove, boasted to have"had enough of"—are entirely and absolutely *sick* of listening to bloviating ignorami in politics mouthing their shyte on topics they know nothing about, scoring their cheap, childish points.

    We think you are actually rather stupid, poorly educated, jumped-up little twerps whose ambition vastly exceeds your ability ...and, Ms Rudd, you do nothing to demonstrate otherwise.

  51. tfb Silver badge

    This is some high-order recursive stupidity

    Too stupid to understand encryption: well, that's OK, the details are generally fiddly and need the sort of education you don't have if you have a history degree.

    Too stupid to realise she doesn't understand encryption & should ask someone who does. This is bad.

    Too stupid to realise that *standing up and announcing the previous two things in public is not a good idea*. This is really quite a special level of stupid.

    Too stupid to realise that accusing people who *do* understand it of 'sneering' and 'patronising' you is not going to help any.

    We are ruled by stupids.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: This is some high-order recursive stupidity

      Too stupid to be able to comprehend the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      1. tfb Silver badge

        Re: This is some high-order recursive stupidity

        It's not quite, but almost, Dunning-Kruger, the way I read it: I've always taken DK to be when people who are really bad at, say, physics assume they are really good at it because they are so bad they don't realise how bad they are. This is worse: this is someone who doesn't realise that there is such a thing as physics at all.

        It's like a lizard looking at a spaceship: you can see them sniffing around it and wondering if it's some kind of food, or whether they can lay their eggs in it. There's just no room in their lizard mind for the notion of what a spaceship *is*.

        Yes. I was wrong: we are ruled by lizards.

  52. Sneery McSneerface
    Trollface

    In honour of Amber Rudd ..

    .. I have just renamed my account.

    :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In honour of Amber Rudd ..

      Interesting - that seems to have reset account statistics. A price worth paying :).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In honour of Amber Rudd ..

        Ah, my friend, you should have looked first before leaping :) It says in the El Reg guidelines that this will be the case.

        However, in this case I would have to agree with you that it is a price worth paying. However, you can no longer prove you have 100* more upvotes than me :P

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In honour of Amber Rudd ..

          However, you can no longer prove you have 100* more upvotes than me :P

          Evil grin..

          <clickety>: In total, your posts have been upvoted 4**** times and downvoted 8*** times.

          I didn't say *which* account I renamed :p

          =/:)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In honour of Amber Rudd ..

            Touché :)

  53. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    she said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags"

    Well, Britain had a decent run while it lasted--1200 years or so. But all good things come to an end.

    So where should everyone with at least two neurons left to fire move to? Ideas? And will the last non-vegetative Brit turn off the lights as they leave?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: she said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags"

      So where should everyone with at least two neurons left to fire move to?

      America - obviously.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: she said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags"

        Upvote for sarcasm :)

    2. acid andy
      Pint

      Re: she said the government needs to get people who "understand the necessary hashtags"

      "So where should everyone with at least two neurons left to fire move to? Ideas? And will the last non-vegetative Brit turn off the lights as they leave?"

      Oh, don't worry. Alcohol can deal with those neurons. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

  54. davidp231

    Red line, with green ink.

    I think this video sums her up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg

  55. illuminatus

    Not sneering, just frowning...

    No, really, Amber, we're not sneering.

    We're just open mouthed in disbelief and anger than someone who is in charge of drafting legislation which is vitally important to the social, economic and political well-being of the nation has, in a public forum, in front of her own crowd, in fact, basically rolled up and told the world that she doesn't know what she's doing and doesn't understand the things about which she's supposed to be making law.

    It says much about the times in which we live that a senior politician is not only unashamed of this, but seems to be reveling in the breadth of her utterly pig-headed, willful stupidity, and seems to be claiming it as some kind of virtue. Welcome to post-truth, post-intellect politics. Welcome to the fucking asylum, please collect your jacket on the way in.

  56. Zarno

    If (When?) they get their way...

    Makes me wonder how many femtoseconds would elapse between the "Security agencies only backdoor" encryption being popped wide open on every service (banking, browsing, shopping, "special content") that the politician(s) use, and them demanding that the backdoor be removed to keep their "Christmas holiday photos", "secret blends of herbs and spices", and "important personal notes and drafts" safe...

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: If (When?) they get their way...

      I'm almost of an opinion that we should do something about creating a backdoored encryption scheme and, of course, make it mandatory to use with all government officials and communications.

      That to see just how fast they backpedal when the inevitable cracked account spills horrendous details on their personal lives that they would have preferred kept secret.

      Either that or to see how they squirm to avoid having such a scheme applied to them because they full well know that they could get hacked in the first place. Cue endless arguments about how it is "not needed" at high levels and somesuch, which would just demonstrate their hypocrisy to the world.

      But it can't happen and that's a good thing. I'll just have to fantasize about them getting ridiculed that way. Or I could just wait for them to ridicule themselves. Won't be long.

      Never is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If (When?) they get their way...

        I would like a journalist to ask her if she has any objections to the Labour Party having access to messages in the Conservative WhatsApp group. If she is ok with that, how about our friends in the USA, France, Germany and Russia...

      2. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: If (When?) they get their way...

        Cue endless arguments about how it is "not needed" at high levels and somesuch, which would just demonstrate their hypocrisy to the world.

        A counter argument could be to point out how many top-level agents and government ministers have been caught passing information to the enemy. If any one needs their stuff monitored full-time.... (or is that 'fool-time'?)

        Couse they'll claim immunity through innocence... Which I'd then claim as proof of their wrong doing, "nothing to hide" etc etc...

  57. kmac499

    Broken Public Key made easy...

    Dear Amber;

    It goes like this...

    For security the locks on all government buildings, office doors, ministerial cars and your Red Box have been fitted with a super duper lock and key (made by GCHQey where the Q is like the Q in Nissan QashQai) where even though the design of it is made public It is so complicated that no-one else but GCHQey can make one.

    Unfortunatley on the PMs instruction all the Qeys sorry Keys have been made in such a way that one skeleton master Key can open every lock and every lock of that type that will ever be made in the future.

    Now just imagine what would happen if ....... (OK we know you don't do imagination)

    Byeee...

  58. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Coat

    "I don't need to understand how cutting flesh with a knife works to understand how it's helping the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that."

    There, madam, fixed that for you.

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Facepalm

      @Hans 1

      Please don't hand someone like Mrs. Rudd any sharp objects...

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: @Hans 1

        Please don't hand someone like Mrs. Rudd any sharp objects...

        Actually please do. Then tell her that running with svissors is the best way to stop her getting snered at. You don't even need to worry about experts.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Joke

          running with scissors*

          I don't know what the fuss is about, I've done this all my life and I haven't cut my head off more than two, may be three, times...tops.

          *If you always ensure the pointy bit is away from you, then the warning really needs to be made to the people in your way, not to you.

  59. Lotaresco

    Dear Amber,

    You seem to be struggling to understand why techies are laughing at you. Apparently you think that the error that you made was a small one, that could be overlooked because it doesn't matter in the great scheme of things and that it's just some sort of cruelty on the part of "techies" that causes them to laugh at a jolly good person who is getting on and doing Very Important Stuff That Needs To Be Done.

    Let me explain. As a techie, well actually I'm a scientist with slightly better qualifications than your own, and I'm used by now to politicians calling me a "techie" or "boffin" or even "nerd" and "geek". Clearly since my qualifications are in science, not all-important History and because none of my ancestors shagged the monarchy I'm not really of any consequence, but I think even from my lowly position I can give you a flavour of the magnitude of your cock-up.

    Imagine me as a techie talking to you about history and I say that At 5:40 a.m. on the 21st of October 1805, Nelson commenced an engagement with the French and Spanish combined fleet that he would win decisively because of his creative use of the recently invented Gatling gun. How much would you sneer at me? Clearly I would be talking ignorant drivel about a subject that I barely understand.

    That's you that is.

  60. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    FAIL

    Little Miss Amber

    ... and if I don't get my way I'll thqueam an' thqueam until I'm thick.

    1. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Little Miss Amber

      She may be the first Home Sec. to actually complain about being sneered at.

  61. J J Carter Silver badge
    Boffin

    Alkali hydroxides anyone?

    The naughty kids will be squirting caesium hydroxide about...powerful enough to quickly corrode through glass but it's not an acid.

  62. Roo
    Windows

    "I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping – end-to-end encryption – the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that."

    I wish she would understand how end-to-end encryption helps law abiding citizens too.

    She comes across as a self-pitying self-righteous bully who invents hurts and grievances to excuse the premeditated and malicious policies that she is intending to foist upon millions of tax-payers who do nothing but make her richer and who have never harmed a hair on her head.

    Malicious leeches have no place in civil society. She should take the medicine and do her --ing job or piss off back to whatever swamp she slithered out of.

    FWIW I suspect the same will be true of the next Home Sec. and the one after that too. :)

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Her name's Amber - no wonder she can't decide whether the internet traffic should stop or go.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Her name's Amber -

      Filled with fossilised thinking.

  64. fluffybunnyuk

    Lets Ban Amber Rudd

    In London theres a problem with people on scooters commiting crime.

    So....Does this mean that scooters will be made illegal?

    After all if were banning things criminals use to commit crime maybe el reg readers could help her draw up a list...any offers?

    1. acid andy
      Joke

      Re: Lets Ban Amber Rudd

      A list of things they use?

      Hmm, how about oxygen, water and DNA. Nah, screw it, let's just ban quarks!

  65. John Presland

    Remarkable: 209 comments from people who know something about IT, and 209 are hostile to Rudd. Do you think that might make her think that maybe she's wrong?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Pint

      Do you think that might make her think that maybe she's wrong?

      I think you may have missed a trick with your comment....

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Pint

      Re:Remarkable: 209 comments

      Do you think that might make her think?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re:Remarkable: 209 comments

        Think? She obviously hasn't done any. Next thing you know, these politicians will be branding your POV as populist and dismiss it as the ramblings of people who "only understands tech" and nothing about the families and children that is in dire need of protection, or the security requirements and details of a country

        1. Aitor 1

          Re: Re:Remarkable: 209 comments

          We are tired of experts, remember that... post facts society.

  66. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Just one more thing...

    ....what's that, Clippy? 232 comments, you say? You think maybe my main points have probably already been covered pretty well?

    Well, back under the bridge for me, then.

  67. zb

    Don't confuse me with the facts

    I already have my opinions.

  68. -tim
    Facepalm

    How hard can it be?

    Even Caesar understod a cipher.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: How hard can it be?

      "Even Caesar understod a cipher."

      Sort of, it wasn't exactly a good cipher. Good ciphers didn't really appear until 1467 with the Alberti cipher. The Enigma machine is just an automated implementation of an Alberti cipher.

  69. Kiwi Silver badge
    Flame

    what about tv and radio news?

    I actively go out of my way to avoid the crap that passes as'"news" in NZ, but several times a week I'll see or hear some snippet. Much of that is "terrorist material", would that be covered?

    Has any ony told the stupid bint that she could qualify as "terrorist" under many definitions?

    And why the hell aren't you brits pushing to be rid of her? She's making chump look like an intellectual! Flood your mp's offices with letters, phone calls (polite ones) tying up office resources, protests etc. Get her gone!

  70. Happy Moose

    Backdoor message...

    The sheer lack of downvotes to comments on this story serves as a message of how seriously the community views (or fears) our Government’s apparent incompetence in the matter.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      Re: Backdoor message...

      The sheer lack of downvotes to comments on this story serves as a message of how seriously the community views (or fears) our Government’s apparent incompetence in the matter.

      Was thinking the same. Sometimes I'd love to see a count of total up/down votes on a thread. Not always but sometimes it could be interesting.

  71. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Flame

    Dull as amber...

    I would have gone further than sneering. I would have announced a public statement that the woman is an idiot and the company has no wishes to weaken security of it's own users to help build a police state.

    Who cares if terrorists are using the same messaging as us? They also use the same air and planet and building a police state just to know who has ill intentions and who doesn't isn't worth the massive threat to our civil liberties.

  72. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Oxymorons

    All the smartarses say "Military Intelligence" is an oxymoron, probably because it flatters their egos,

    but I am thinking "Political Leadership" and "bureaucratic efficiency" are better examples

    1. davidp231

      Re: Oxymorons

      You forgot "Microsoft Works".

  73. Lotaresco

    Would anyone care to guess...

    Just how long after this brain-dead legislation pops into being it will be before the first report appears of a victim having concentrated sodium hydroxide thrown in their face? It's not an acid, it's easy to find in several places.

    Then how long after this before the knee-jerk is to ban all alkalis?

    On a separate note, has anyone started to think about how much acid they transport on a regular basis? Car battery, that's a couple of litres of strong sulphuric acid solution. Any cleaning product that claims to be good for removing limescale (a lot of these use hydrochloric acid) etc.

    We could change all the car batteries to LiIon polymer. Of course they happen to full of alkali and they are so dangerous that people who work on Prius/Tesla batteries have to wear head to toe rubber suits. It's clearly inconceivable that anyone would use an old LiIon battery as a weapon, isn't it?

  74. Anonymous Noel Coward
    Black Helicopters

    *sigh*

    I'm guessing this end result of a failed abortion home secretary won't be facing any kind of punishment for contempt of court then?

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...laughed at for not getting it right"

    Dear Home Secretary

    It's your duty to get it right. You have the power to do us harm by getting it wrong.

  76. MacroRodent Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Curiosity killed the cat

    > Later today the Home Secretary is expected to announced that people who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years in jail.

    So a journalist or researcher who follows t*ist web pages in order to understand how those movements are evolving goes to jail?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Curiosity killed the cat

      Journalists are exempt.

      That said, it'll be interesting to see how many authorities plant evidence against people on seized equipment in order to guarantee jail time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Curiosity killed the cat

        So the way to "exploit" this loophole is to become a journalist? OK. Done.

        Then I'll be waiting for Amber Rudd to say she doesn't need to be a journalist to understand how being a journalist is helping the criminals and begin the clamp down on press freedom.

        I expect a special register for Journalist registration soon that needs the approval of the HomeSec?

  77. oneeye

    Weapons Grade Stupidity!

    Seems the UK is wanting a police state, just like China. But, progressive leftist shouldn't complain, or "Sneer", because you got the government you voted for. Keep it up, and you'll be the next Venezuela.

  78. yossarianuk

    Worst Government

    In living memory.

    Makes the new Labour era look almost liberal

  79. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

    The basic gist of the matter is she is UTTERLY IGNORANT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY and has NO BUSINESS AT ALL creating ANY legislation dealing with encryption AT ALL!!!!!

    Here is a scenario! I am one of the BEST encryption coders around (a TRUE STATEMENT!) and I make an end-to-end ENCRYPTED videophone and encrypted binary file transfer system and encrypted instant text messaging.

    It's fully PEER-to-PEER and hides data within scrambled TCP/IP/UDP packets using Triple AES-256 encryption (i.e. 768-bits long) AND Shor's Resistant encryption algorithms that not even a Quantum Computer can decrypt!

    AND I make this application fully open source in MULTIPLE programming languages such as Basic, C/C++, JAVA, HTML5, Pascal, Python which means ANYONE can download and run the code WORLDWIDE WITHOUT RESTRICTION! I'm in Canada and so if a Brit were to download and run the code TOO BAD!

    I made it OPEN SOURCE and FREE TO EVERYONE....What can ya do!

    --N--O--T--H--I--N-- ZERO, NIX, NEE NYET, NAY NADA, ZIP, ZILCH --- NOTHING!

    No legislation she makes will be able to touch me or my COMPLETELY FREE AND OPEN SOURCE ENCRYPTED VIDEOPHONE/TEXT MESSAGER/FILE TRANSFER APP !!!

    NOTHING !!!!! And...since I actually DO HAVE thet very app I speak of...which I made sometime ago, I will update it and ABSOLUTELY WILL give it away for FREEEEEE and make the code COMPLETELYOPEN SOURCE so EVERYONE has end-to-end, peer-to-peer encrypted text, video and audio communications !!!!

    And there is NOT A THING she can do about !!!!!

    1. fluffybunnyuk

      Re: Stargatesg7

      Seriously?

      That would be great because I have spent 15 years writing routines for cryptography (37 in general IT) (some of which people here have probably used) and I still struggle with secure routines.

      I would really welcome your input if its so easy. As for triple-AES pfff. Just because you extend the key-length doesnt make it significantly more secure numpty.

      Writing FDE is complex enough (and ours had flaws unsurprisingly that were teased out over time) let alone encrypting streaming data which is notorious for significantly more exploits thereof.

      1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Stargatesg7

        I've been doing this since 1982 so I think I have more than a few years ahead of you on low-level C/C++ and assembler for multiple CPU types including x86, ARM, MIPS, SPARC, IBM Power, MC68000, 6502, z80, etc, etc. AND since I work with encoding up to 4-way streams of 10,000 frames per second 4096x2160 FULLY ENCRYPTED video streams IN REAL TIME using arrays of GPU's ...SOOOOOO.......I think I know video/audio streaming technology (since I write my own codecs!) AND encryption inside AND out! We also don't just extend the keys on AES --- you have to encrypt each AES-256 encrypted block a second time with a DIFFERENT algorithm. We use CAAST-256 for encrypting each layer for input into the 2nd and 3rd layers of AES-256 encrypted blocks. CAAST was one of the Canadian-designed runner-ups for the AES standard so it is VERY SECURE!

        Since MOST PEOPLE don't have access to multiple 24-card AMD S9150 array processors like I do, I can STILL do 24fps or 30 fps 1920x1080 realtime encrypted AES-256/CAAST-256 video streams using only AMD Radeon RX-480 series GPU graphics card which is less than $400 US (300 Euros!) With a bit of Assembler tweaking I've even got it up to 60 fps 1080p streaming with the odd dropped frame or two! You're at the mercy of GPU/CPU memory bandwidth and stream processor latency for 60 fps operation so I made it workable BEST for 24/25/30fps ENCRYPTED STREAM operation.

        So yeah! I've got it on pretty good authority my code works VERY WELL !!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stargatesg7

          Yet, you can't distinguish where an acryonym is needed... BASIC (in this context) is an acryonym, Java, is not.

          1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

            Re: Stargatesg7

            I am VERY familiar with the acronym Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code aka BASIC and JAVA vs Java...and since I know PERSONALLY one of the original Canadian developers OF JAVA while at SUN (aka Stanford University Network) Microsystems. The ORIGINAL development team is/was SPLIT on JAVA vs Java but almost all employees now at Sun/Oracle specify Java as the correct name.

            The original reasoning was possible trademarking issues for coffee products so originally JAVA was put forward but over time Java became the norm.

            And NOW you know the REST of the story!

            1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

              Re: Stargatesg7

              @stargatesg7

              "No legislation she makes will be able to touch me or my COMPLETELY FREE AND OPEN SOURCE ENCRYPTED VIDEOPHONE/TEXT MESSAGER/FILE TRANSFER APP !!!"

              Hi chap. Get I get a link to that app? Sounds great!

              1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

                Re: Stargatesg7

                Anybody got any dried frog pills? The poor chap seems to have gone completely bursar.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Stargatesg7

              Citations?

              1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

                Re: Stargatesg7

                Indeedy. You see, SG7, we have this saying around here that goes "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." You may have heard this elsewhere, such as on Reddit. So, ante up some evidence for your claims as, clearly, us techies would be very interested in the BEST ENCRYPTION written by the BEST CODER (sic), wouldn't we?

                Also, would you happen, I wonder, to be the same Stargatesg7 as found commenting on behalf of WikiLeaks a while back? Perhaps "Q" on behalf of "The Traveller"? If not, your writing styles are very similar.

    2. Kiwi Silver badge
      Trollface

      I'm in Canada and so if a Brit were to download and run the code TOO BAD!

      Actually.... Look at Dotcom - no crime under either NZ or US law but....

      There's at least a few international laws you could be charged under, after all according to Dudd your software would be aiding crims, paedos and worst of all terrorists!!!!1!!1!!1!!!!!1!1!1!1!!!!!1!1!!!!!1!1!!!

      (Btw are you somehow related to Bob or Charles? :-) )

    3. Lotaresco

      "It's fully PEER-to-PEER and hides data within scrambled TCP/IP/UDP packets using Triple AES-256 encryption"

      I UNCLOG my nose in YOUR general direction. Your Triple AES is but a SHAM! I have my own much improved algorithm, QUADRUPLE ROT-13 which renders any TEXT completely UNHACKABLE!

  80. boatsman
    Coat

    mrs Rudd and the techies are both missing the point. criminals are criminals, so....

    they will never use government approved and backdoored encryption.

    thank you for your attention.

  81. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Stomach Acid

    Pretty strong stuff. pH2 HCl IIRC.

    Amber Rudd is basically outlawing digestion for children.

  82. Colin Bain

    Just looking....

    15 years for looking? I suppose we are a long way beyond 1984, but still...

    ...and does this cover GCHQ staff...

  83. Data Dominatrix

    contractor: data & process modeling

    On many of the jobs I have had, my manager did not understand what I was doing. I have been telling friends that it is all about incompetence, but no one really believes md

  84. Lotaresco

    Rudd should stick to what she's good at

    For the avoidance of doubt, that is arranging aristocrats in decorative patterns for soppy Richard Curtis films.

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