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United Kingdom Communications Encryption

'Real People' Don't Need End-To-End Encryption In Their Messaging Apps, UK Home Secretary Says (bbc.com) 348

UK home secretary Amber Rudd has called on messaging apps like WhatsApp to ditch end-to-end encryption, arguing that it aids terrorists. From a report: The major technology companies must step up their fight against extremism or face new laws, the home secretary has told the BBC. Amber Rudd said technology companies were not doing enough to beat "the enemy" on the internet. Encryption tools used by messaging apps had become a "problem," she added. Ms Rudd is meeting with representatives from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others at a counter-terrorism forum in San Francisco. Tuesday's summit is the first gathering of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, an organisation set up by the major companies in the wake of recent terror attacks. In a joint statement, the companies taking part said they were co-operating to "substantially disrupt terrorists' ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights." In an op-ed, she wrote Tuesday: Real people often prefer ease of use and a multitude of features to perfect, unbreakable security ... Who uses WhatsApp because it is end-to-end encrypted, rather than because it is an incredibly user-friendly and cheap way of staying in touch with friends and family? Companies are constantly making trade-offs between security and 'usability,' and it is here where our experts believe opportunities may lie.
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'Real People' Don't Need End-To-End Encryption In Their Messaging Apps, UK Home Secretary Says

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  • So selfish (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:04PM (#54921497) Journal

    Yes, indeed. What real people need end to end encryption for financial transactions? It's totally okay to allow unknown parties to breach encryption because, you know, REAL PEOPLE!!!

    • Re:So selfish (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:13PM (#54921551)

      Actually, totally public financial transactions would be really interesting. I mean, you still need some way of signing them, but you don't need end-to-end encryption per se. There's this bitcoin thing based on that concept.

      • Actually, totally public financial transactions would be really interesting. I mean, you still need some way of signing them, but you don't need end-to-end encryption per se. There's this bitcoin thing based on that concept.

        Yep, and the entire bitcoin network can only handle about seven transactions per second because of this openness.

        (this is a network that uses 500 megawatts of electricity).

        • Bitcoin can only handle about seven transactions per second because of its decentralized nature. It could handle far more transactions with far less energy and the same ownership if a trusted 3rd party was the sole authority.

    • by boa ( 96754 )

      "What real people need end to end encryption for financial transactions?"

      The summary said messenging apps. Do you use Whatsapp to for that purpose?

    • Re:So selfish (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thsths ( 31372 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:06PM (#54921915)

      Now the key question is: is the Home Secretary a Real Person?

    • No true Scotsman would need encryption!
  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:05PM (#54921501)

    Like the USA, the biggest terrorist organization in the UK is the government

  • Crap politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpaghettiPattern ( 609814 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:06PM (#54921509)
    induce terrorism.
  • by williamyf ( 227051 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:09PM (#54921529)

    And I need end to end encryption, for things like my banking info, purchases on the net, and my sexting with age adequate MILFs (I am 43).

    And more so, I also WANT end to end encryption on all my comms.

    'Nuff said

  • Many people (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Here in Australia my housemate has lots of friends in the federal and local police. She uses it because she knows otherwise they could just read her messages (even though they aren't meant to). She even had some guy from another government department tell her he could just look her up on the directory if they wanted to

    Lots of people need it. It's all good and well when you're above the law but everyone else deserves privacy. It wouldn't surprise me if there have been lots of stalking cases which were caused

  • by TheFakeTimCook ( 4641057 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:12PM (#54921547)

    Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. High and Mighty.

    Publish your DOB, National ID #, Bank Account Info and Home address.

    Oh, yes, and publish your entire IM and TXT History, Facebook, Twitter etc. Logins while you're at it.

    Because that's what you are suggesting all your Subjects do...

    • Because that's what you are suggesting all your Subjects do...

      I thought subject lines were metadata, and could therefore be gathered without a warrant.

    • Because that's what you are suggesting all your Subjects do...

      She's not the queen, you know: not every female in a senior position in the UK is isomorphic to the queen.

      • Because that's what you are suggesting all your Subjects do...

        She's not the queen, you know: not every female in a senior position in the UK is isomorphic to the queen.

        I knew that; but I am not familiar enough with British terminology to figure out what to call them. "Citizens" is not correct though, right?

  • Tell that to... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:15PM (#54921571)

    Tell that to former opposition politicians in Turkey and Venezuela ...

    Do you really think something similar couldn't happen in the UK? In twenty years? In forty years?
    You may not be around then, but the laws that are made now will.

  • by Tjp($)pjT ( 266360 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:16PM (#54921577)
    Just ban all use outside the military of end to end encryption. Politicians should appreciate the transparency and ease their communications can be monitored.
  • Once there was a town where all the houses were made of glass.
    Then someone invented paint so people didn't see each other naked.
    Then the police said we need to get rid of all this paint because seeing everyone naked is a great way to reduce crime.
    To wit the only real question was. Is it worth it?

  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:20PM (#54921603)

    I want high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green Jell-O all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal?

  • Math. (Score:5, Funny)

    by ewhenn ( 647989 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:24PM (#54921633)
    I'll perform any math I choose with who I want when I want. Thank you very much.
  • Real Government doesn't need to spy on it's citizens.

  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:25PM (#54921645)

    They need to stop permitting Saudi inspired Colonialism in London.

    I draw a stark difference between Shia, Amadi, Sikh, Hindu, and other refugees who come to Britain in the interest of co-existing in a Pluralistic society in the UK, they should be welcome, they should be met with understanding, and tolerance.

    Then there is the attempt by the Saudis to create a puppet State in a section of London. The Sunni Wahabis are creating several such puppet states all over Europe. Its colonialism, and it needs to be stopped. They need to stop the flow of Saudi money, pro-Saudi propaganda, shut down and dismantle Sharia courts, prosecute cases of FGM, and arrest radical gangs.

    The Saudis foment racism just as bad as any white Supremacists do in the US. While it has been a largely internal matter for the Saudis, there are Saudis promoting a return of Black African slavery, and female sex slavery. They are actively commiting a Genocide against the Shia Houthis in Yemen. They nearly massacred the Yazitis.

    Look, the truth is the war on Terrorism is really the war against Saudi inspired Sunni Wahabi aggression. The Saudis started it, and it won't end until the Saudi regime falls. If we ever want to live in peace and security again, the Saudis have to be stopped.

  • by Tyr07 ( 2300912 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:28PM (#54921667) Homepage

    of your business.

    If someone plans a divorce. If someone wants to make a purchase on a house, etc etc. List goes on forever, why? Because information is power and people will use it to prepare and manipulate. It doesn't have to be illegal.

    Like what if someone wanted to motivate a lot of people to use their legal rights to vote down leadership they found shitty? Well, if you knew in advance what people were doing, you could accidentally end up on a no fly list and that it was a mistake, and they promise to remove you..but uh..the process is slow and may take the next few months..you know, until the election is over to get you removed.

    There's plenty of dirty legal tricks people can do to royally fuck with someone and mess up timing of things. End to end encryption should be required.
    What if the government is doing something shady? If they're shady as fuck and let's face it, the information age shows they're still as shady as they have been since the days of monarchs, then they won't suddenly investigate the shit out of you and disrupt your life for reasons of national security that they can't reveal?

    God yes they would do it. We all know they do / will / can. They fear encryption because it's hard to know what to lie about and if people are on to your lies if you can't read them talking about it.

  • If Ms. Rudd thinks end-to-end encryption isn't helping to fight the enemy, I think she's confused about who the enemy is.

    She'll need a mirror to find out who.

  • If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:54PM (#54921849) Journal

      Even if that position were true, it is irrelevant... since everyone, and I mean *EVERYONE*, including Ms Rudd, has something to hide.

      But having something to hide does not mean that there is anything wrong, it can be simply because they simply want something to be private.

      I mean, most people wear clothes when they are socializing with others. Is there something wrong with people's bodies that they need to keep them covered up? (There very well be for some, but this is beside the point). I am, of course, being rhetorical... people generally keep their privates covered up when they are in public because they are just that: private.

      So to suggest that real people don't need end-to-end encryption is saying that real people don't really need any privacy. I'd like to see what she'd have to say if she were made aware that by extension, she should be required to never wear any clothes anymore.... unless she contends that she herself is not a real person.

    • If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

      Or close the door in your bathroom when you go to do your business. After all these years, these nitwits have yet to grasp the concept of privacy.

  • To be honest, I've always suspected that I was fictional.

  • link [logicalfallacies.info]

    Ms. Rudd should be called out quite clearly for employing such blatant logical fallacy.

  • by Infiniti2000 ( 1720222 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @03:36PM (#54921729)
    The more you tighten your grip, Amber Rudd, the more users will slip through your fingers.
  • don't need to inspect private communications in order to preserve freedom.
  • Isn't encryption pretty much the only reason to use whatsapp? There's far easier software to use if you don't care about encryption.. facebook, aol instant messenger, IRC... there's probably only about 5,000 different options.
  • Because they are neither stupid nor dishonest enough for that.

    Now, a recent trend seems to be that real people have stopped to recognize how stupid and dishonest politicians are, and that one is worrying.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Speaking my own personal experience, and the people that I've seen get elected in the places that I've lived, it is entirely possible for an honest person to become a politician... but it is, regrettably, quite rare... and rarer still for people to recognize it before they vote. I can only attest to having seen it for sure one time in the 45 years since I've been old enough to vote.
  • I mean technically no... nobody cares what I'm saying to my friends on a daily basis. But a private conversation can be spun 1000x ways when you don't understand the relationship or context. ...with extreme amount of sleaze bag lawyers, district attorneys, and predatory prosecutors we have, it's just good insurance to protect your private conversations.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <{moc.cam} {ta} {rcj}> on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:09PM (#54921937) Journal

    Honestly, how in the world does someone with so little understanding of data security ever get into any position of authority over innocent people's privacy?

    -jcr

  • Of which there seem be a lot these days in the UK. It is scary that such ignoramuses are making decisions that will be affecting our lives for years to come.
  • ... on to wikileaks or something? Preferably including subscription confirmations to porn-sites and such? Thanks. ... Jesus H.B. Crickey, how I hate these idiots.

  • Dear idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:28PM (#54922023)

    Getting a terrorist isn't achieved by decrypting everybody's private messages and making fraud, identity theft, extortion and the likes waaaaay easier than it is now.

    If you want to get Mr. Terrorist, you've got to do the old stile intelligence work. Which means actual hard labor; Which costs money. Yesyes, you don't want to spend money and think that listening in on everybody will net you Mr. Terrorist. I'll tell you something simple:

    Mr. Terrorist is trying everything in his power to remain undetected, so he won't conveniently sms that he will plant a bomb at busy place X, so you can find him.

    Trying to kill encryption for the masses, will not keep it out of the hands of Mr. Terrorist. Mr. Terrorist already has moved beyond whatsapp. Sneakernet still exists today, you know... and in order to intercept communication via sneakernet, you need intelligence the old way: hard work.

    But, because privacy got killed, you now have endless options for man-in-the-middle attacks by all kinds of evil-doers. But hey! You "conveniently" forget about that. You "conveniently" forget about the possibilities for fraud, identity theft, harassment and other crimes this would open.

    Dear idiot. Measures like these will only affect those you are trying to "protect." In reality it's just another oppression tool, isn't it?

  • 'real' governments (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:32PM (#54922045) Homepage

    'Real' governments do not need to hide their operations and finances from their citizens

  • Two can play the name calling game. Man up and learn to govern and police and quit trying to take the easy way out, politicians.

  • Right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EndlessNameless ( 673105 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:33PM (#54922063)

    "substantially disrupt terrorists' ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights."

    Last time I checked, privacy is a human right. This is true in the US, and it is equally true in the UK (until Brexit is completed, at the very least).

    If the right to privacy cannot cover something as basic as free speech, what good is it?

  • >Who uses WhatsApp because it is end-to-end encrypted, rather than because it is an incredibly user-friendly and cheap way of staying in touch with friends and family?

    I do! Some of my friends and family are in countries without the freedom of speech protections of the United States and the United Kingdom. ThoughtCrime can get you in a lot of trouble in large parts of the world.

  • My point exactly... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dread_ed ( 260158 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:51PM (#54922143) Homepage

    When someone, somewhere, anywhere even, says that I don't need end-to-end encryption I take it as a sure sign that I desperately, immediately need end-to-end encryption on everything.

    If they weren't deeply invested in being able to see everything I send to anyone they wouldn't even care about making such an announcement. That they are saying this means they are being frustrated by the idea of private communication. Good. Fuck them.

    You want the details of my communication? Fine, start up a conversation with me and whatever I send you is yours to do with as you wish. Or check what I post online under my real name. Any other viewing of my private communications is a violation of my privacy you authoritarian shit bag, and requires a warrant and a damn good reason.

  • by MerlynEmrys67 ( 583469 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @04:58PM (#54922171)

    Can I get VC funding to create a Whatsapp clone that simply forwards ALL messages from person A to person B to the NSA branches off all government (USA, UK, France, Russia, China, North and South Korea, Iraq, Iran, all 198 or so of them). I should be able to raise simple VC to fund the project - and since users don't care grab a 50 percent market share (because they don't care it is flip a coin on if it is me or it is Whatsapp). Since this is an advertised feature vs Whatsapp's advertised feature of end to end security - we can judge how important this feature is to end users.

    VC please send your offer sheets to me here, I am willing to give away 25% non-voting shares in exchange for 10% of the valuation of Whatsapp/WeChat/something similar

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Tuesday August 01, 2017 @05:01PM (#54922187)
    Sure, real people don't need encryption, and honest people don't need privacy. (You can trust marketing companies....TRUST me). No one will abuse people's personal info as long as it's public and available to all, especially the government. Of course that logic might 50% apply if you always agreed with your government (like Trump), never voiced an opinion that that created inconvenience for those in power and never wanted a meaning opinion voiced. Mao believed in all this too, as does Putin. But do we really want to be in such company directly or indirectly?

    Snowden correctly stated: You only have nothing to hide, if you have nothing to say.. Another famous quote by Benjamin Franklin: "Those who give up their civil liberties for a little extra safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"
  • Don't let them use end to end encryption for their banking, stock market fiddling, and buying stuff over the internet with a credit card. Come on, it's only right!

    2 weeks of this and these bankrupt assholes might find the clue pile.
  • Real people often prefer ease of use and a multitude of features to perfect, unbreakable security ... Who uses WhatsApp because it is end-to-end encrypted, rather than because it is an incredibly user-friendly and cheap way of staying in touch with friends and family? Companies are constantly making trade-offs between security and 'usability,' and it is here where our experts believe opportunities may lie.

    This statement is so full of darkness it makes me sick. Inferring that certain people on this planet, whom biologically are definitely people, but they're not people. This is a total error and very disturbing to classify -any- group of people as 'not real.' Or less than people. Regardless of justifications, this is just disturbing.

    As much as I dislike invoking Godwin's law, but this just smacks of something you'd hear a NAZI say. Disgusting.

    Encryption isn't even a word I saw or gave any thought to. Th

  • We are more complex than that.

  • If I were involved in a lawsuit (civil, not criminal) and wanted to send relevant documentation to my attorney, I would definitely want end-to-end encryption. After all, there have been real instances of attorneys and their private investigators engaging in illegal practices in attempts to gain sensitive data about their opponents.

    For other reasons why end-to-end encryption might be important to non-terrorists, see my http://www.rossde.com/PGP/pgp_... [rossde.com].

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