It didn’t take long Britain to bring the IP Bill to life after a draft had been introduced in the Parliament. Only a year.
“The 245 pages contained the UK government’s plans to create a statutory basis for the country’s mass surveillance, data retention,and remote intrusion practices. The bill follows a series of successful challenges to the UK’s previous legal frameworks, and growing knowledge and concern about the unchecked practices of the General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK’s signals intelligence service.” - is said in this EFF article.
And as if that that wasn’t too much, then came Amber Rudd’s initiative, who said it was “completely unacceptable that the government could not read messages protected by end-to-end encryption”. So, behind closed doors, end-to-end encryption weakening was requested, through introducing backdoors or putting in place other security weaknesses.
The technical capability notices (TCNs) of this draft request would force companies “to ‘modify’ their products in order to comply with Government demands” and to be also limited with “the ability to develop stronger security and encryption.”
These UK’s extreme and draconian laws and proposals already put every UK citizen’s privacy in jeopardy and every business data under threat. UK makes it clear that protecting private communications and data is about to get a lot more difficult in the country.
Five Eyes to continue this?
Last week, the “Five Eyes” alliance (an intelligence agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) met in Ottawa. The Australian delegation said publicly that they intended to “thwart the encryption of terrorist messaging.”
In the encryption section they conclude that “encryption can severely undermine public safety efforts by impeding lawful access to the content of communications during investigations into serious crimes, including terrorism. To address these issues, we committed to develop our engagement with communications and technology companies to explore shared solutions while upholding cybersecurity and individual rights and freedoms.”
So, the Australian officials are now joining Britain and the USA to plan to force “service providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies” when encrypted communication needs to be read and checked.
The totally opposite standpoint - Europe
More than a week ago at the European Parliament and of the Council came the draft report from the European Parliament concerning the respect for private life and the protection of personal data in electronic communications which included:
“The providers of electronic communications services shall ensure that there is sufficient protection in place against unauthorised access or alterations to the electronic communications data, and that the confidentiality and safety of the transmission are also guaranteed by the nature of the means of transmission used or by state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption of the electronic communications data. Furthermore, when encryption of electronic communications data is used, decryption, reverse engineering or monitoring of such communications shall be prohibited. Member States shall not impose any obligations on electronic communications service providers that would result in the weakening of the security and encryption of their networks and services.”
Will this be a wake up call for the Five Eyes? Will this be a wake up call for Germany, that on the contrary at the same time passed a controversial new law that expands the power of authorities to spy on the content of encrypted message services?
Encryption protects users’ personal data and companies’ intellectual property from nation-states and data-stealing cybercriminals. What’s more it is a way to ensure that malicious parties don’t hack our voting machines, pacemakers, home cameras, telephones, banking systems, power grids, and other key systems.
So, the demand to break encryption in any way can’t bring any good.
Secure Swiss Data greets EU proposal
We, at Secure Swiss Data, totally support and greet this draft proposal and hope it will become active in near future. It is still what we believe in and advocate for: privacy as an essential prerequisite of civil liberties and human rights.
We operate from neutral Switzerland and will continue providing users with service that is: End-to-end encrypted, totally secure and advertisement free.
We don’t collect information about users, never read emails or copy anything and never track users location, will never sell information about them or allow any backdoors or weakened encryption.