Priti Patel bids to create end-to-end encryption apps’ back door – The National

AN international outcry has erupted after the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, joined her US counterparts in demanding that internet companies weaken encryption for users and design digital back doors in messaging services to allow security services easier access.

Dozens of concerned groups, including Amnesty International, Index on Censorship, Reporters Without Borders and Open Rights Group (ORG), have raised their concerns in an open letter to the UK, US and Australian governments.

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The UK government suggested that stronger capabilities to monitor private messages would aid the fight against terrorism and child abuse.

However, the ORG said that alternative approaches must be used as the proposed measures would weaken security for every internet user.

It said this attack on encryption formed a pattern of attacks on digital privacy and security by the UK government, after documents leaked last week showed that it wanted to give the US access to NHS records and other personal information, in a free flow of data between the two countries.

The letter, co-ordinated by the US-based Open Technology Institute, came after a joint letter from the authorities to Facebook described encrypted communications tools as lawless spaces, and urged the company to remove or delay the deployment of end-to-end encryption protections on their messaging platforms.

In their letter, concerned bodies warned: Fulfilling this request would endanger the security and privacy of billions of internet users around the world.

Proponents of exceptional access have argued that it is possible to build backdoors into encrypted consumer products that somehow let good actors gain surreptitious access to encrypted communications, while simultaneously stopping bad actors from intercepting those same communications. This technology does not exist. To the contrary, technology companies could not give governments backdoor access to encrypted communications without also weakening the security of critical infrastructure, and the devices and services upon which the national security and intelligence communities themselves rely.

ORG policy director, Javier Ruiz Diaz, said: The Home Secretary wants to be able to access our private messages in WhatsApp and similar apps, demanding that companies remove the technical protections that keep out fraudsters and other criminals. This is wrong and will make the internet less safe.

Surveillance measures should be targeted and not built into the apps used by millions of people to talk to their friends and family.

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Priti Patel bids to create end-to-end encryption apps' back door - The National

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