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Report: Conservative UK government to force tech firms to hand over encrypted data

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The Conservative party is reportedly using recent terror attacks as leverage to ask technology companies to hand over their encrypted data.

A recent report (via) claims the Tories will push for new legislation after the general election, assuming they win, of course.

The government is supposedly planning on setting new rules which would allow for what's called Technical Capability Notices.

A government minister is said to have told The Sun: "The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now… The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

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These will potentially allow police and MI5 to override the protection promised by technology behemoths such as Apple and Facebook.

Firms such as this encrypt user data to protect against hacking attempts, but such encryption makes it difficult, if not impossible, for government agencies and authorities to gain access to that data as part of investigations.

The argument against opening a so-called "back door" to encryption has always been that it could easily be exploited by hackers.

This isn't the first time governments have tried to get their hands on encrypted data from technology giants — it was only last year that the US and Apple were involved in a feud over this very issue after a terrorist attack in San Bernardino.

Apple refused to unlock the shooter's iPhone, with the FBI eventually claiming it found a third party that was able to unlock the phone that was used to help plan and conduct the attack.

The new report claims that if the Tories suceed in their legislative ambtitions, each order to open the back door to encryption will have to have senior judge approval and be signed off by the home secretary.

On top of that, only companies with a user base of more than 10,000 will be targeted for back door access.

Do you think the UK government should have a back door to encrypted networks? Let us know in the comments.

Phil

May 24, 2017, 1:20 pm

This has been an aim for a long time but it's interesting to see the political bias sneaking through once again ;)

I think an article looking at the horrors of the internet "protections" listed in the Conservative manifesto would be quite useful for many of your readers.

toboev

May 24, 2017, 2:49 pm

Wow. They didn't wait long to exploit this awful situation. I thought there was a moratorium on campaigning, under the circumstances.

They were no so quick to the soap box after WannaCry. Do they not also see what happens when the state does act as guardians of backdoor access?

I'm not going for a moment to equate these two events, just thankful that WannaCry was not something comparable.

Phil

May 25, 2017, 3:32 pm

There was a horrific woman in America during the Bush presidency who called a meeting of senior staff immediately after 9/11 and asked the question "How can we capitalise on these opportunities?"

I don't doubt something very similar happened where they said "right, now the public will be more receptive to all that good stuff in 1984".

The Mad Duke

May 28, 2017, 12:58 am

I thought they would wait until leaving the EU before complete totalitarianism! I guess the folks at number 10 have got itchy feet. lol

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