Today Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed that end-to-end encryption is "absolutely unacceptable" when referring to how she believed terrorists primarily communicate.
Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, the Home Secretary said: "It used to be people just steam open envelopes or just listen in on phones when they wanted to find out what they were doing" and has further added "...but in this situation we need to make sure our intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp."
When Rudd was told directly that she may need to legislate in order to achieve this goal, she responded by saying "...we would not resile from taking action if we need to." and later added that she was not stepping away from legislation.
If you are comforted by the thought of the UK Government simply not being big enough to force these companies to abide by their rules, Rudd later added "We want to do this but we also want other countries to do this." claiming she was already speaking with the USA and had an agreement to discuss it across Europe.
Later the Home Secretary clarified in a further interview with Sky News that she has called in an "...industry board..." to give them "A lot more than a ticking off...". What is quite baffling however is that Amber Rudd believes all platforms, software providers, publishers and so on must take responsibility for their user's own created content, a mammoth task.
Amber Rudd did go on to say "I support end-to-end encryption as part of cyber security for families, for banking, for businesses." but makes no mention how anyone would ever pre-identify a terrorist and if they are a known terrorist, why they aren't simply arrested instead of having encryption confiscated.
Noah Stride, a Systems Administrator for Pirate Party UK, said:
"When building a back-door into any system, you inherently introduce vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious entities such as hackers. These hackers could be state-sponsored individuals, or a group of terrorists themselves. It is entirely possible that malicious actors could use these vulnerabilities to gather users' information and leak, sell or even exploit it.
"In short, whilst Rudd makes the argument that weakening encryption might increase national security, it would empirically end up achieving the complete opposite."
Pirate Party UK Acting Leader, David A Elston said:
"I think many of us are lost on how the Home Secretary proposes to only implement a back-door into encryption technology that will only work if you are a terrorist. If something could be determined, in advance so accurately, then why are they not simply be arrested for terrorism or attempted terrorism? Secondly the thought that we can isolate devices and implement back-doors to encryption based on a person's profile is ludicrous. Back-doors into software are indiscriminate.
"These measures go in completely the wrong direction. After the shootings in Paris, the police found an unencrypted, throw-away phone that they suspect was used to signal the attack. Not only would focusing on encrypted software weaken our ability to keep ourselves safe in the name of 'security', it also wastes resources by focusing on the wrong means by which terrorists might be communicating.
"It is saddening to see the incumbent government continue their pattern of using the emotion and genuine concern after an attack like those which took place in London and Paris to further their own political agenda. We've already seen the intrusive nature of the IP Act and DE Bill but now they want to go further. There is a complete lack of evidence that these measures will be beneficial. On the contrary, they are willfully letting the terrorists win, by taking away our civil liberties, giving into fear, and ending privacy."
About Pirate Party UK
The Pirate Party in the UK is a fledgling political party. It has fielded a few candidates in European and National elections, but like most small parties it is significantly constrained by the UK electoral system. Despite this, the Pirate Party now has a representative in local government and is looking to build support from the grassroots.