Reply to post: Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

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Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

"1. Are we ok with lawful intercept?

2a. If not, why is nobody saying this in these discussions?"

They are. The problem is that some technologies are inherently insecure, so there's very little point making a fuss about it. Not all that long ago, the only way to send communications beyond shouting distance was to write it down and give it to someone to carry for you. Complain all you like about whether they should be able to, but there's absolutely nothing you can do to stop anyone from reading that letter, so for the most part people simply didn't bother complaining about it. Similarly, intercepting telegraph and radio signals was not particularly difficult (with broadcast radio, potentially much easier), so if the government says they reserve the right to snoop, why bother complaining? They're going to do it anyway, and there's simply no such thing as a secure alternative.

The arguments about encryption are all coming up now because there's actually an argument to be had. The development of things like public key cryptography and the spread of powerful computers means that people now have the option to have truly secure communications. And not only do they have that option, but since these things have spread before laws regulating them have been made, they've become used to actually using that option. It's similar to how people were willing to buy hilariously overpriced albums because that was the only way to get music, then Napster came along and suddenly there was an argument to be had about how things should work. No matter what your thoughts on ethics and such, once you've shown people a way of doing things that they like, taking it away from them again is not an easy task. Hence Amazon and iTunes and Spotify and so on.

Communications are in essentially the same position now. All communications used to be open to easy snooping, so there didn't used to be much point worrying about it (although some still did; see for example protests about censorship of letters during WWI and II). Now we have some secure methods of communication, but some people want to take them away from us.

As for why some formats should be privileged and others not, see above. There's absolutely nothing you can do to stop someone reading your letters, so complaining that they shouldn't is just wasting your breath. As the British government has demonstrated recently, spy agencies are going to snoop on everything they can whether it's legal or not, and they'll make it retroactively legal if they think it's worth the bother. Since I can't, in practice, protect my letters, I'm willing to accept that they are not protected. But since I can and currently do protect my Whatapp messages, encrypted emails, and so on, I'm willing to fight not to lose access to such things.

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