This not being a surprise, that the Home Office is either mad or woefully ignorant. The only interesting question is which particular subject they’re displaying their mental inability over.
Here’s it’s on the idea of end to end encryption:
Ministers are considering forcing Facebook to implement a backdoor to allow security agencies and police to read the contents of messages sent across its Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram chat services.
Industry sources say they understand that the Home Office is threatening to use a special legal power called a technical capability notice to compel Facebook to develop a system to allow for the eavesdropping of messages.
The Open Rights Group, a privacy watchdog, said it feared that demanding backdoor access would mean “subjecting all our private messages to monitoring and surveillance on the assumption that we are all criminals”.
Jim Killock, its executive director, called on Boris Johnson to “stay true to his libertarian instincts” and “resist the Orwellian and frankly dangerous impulses of the Home Office and some of his colleagues to snoop on our private messages”.
The Home Office argues that Facebook products can be exploited by paedophiles, and is using concerns about child safety to pile pressure on the US company as it tries to upgrade the security of all its services – in particular by extending end-to-end encryption to its Messenger app.
It is possible to have end to end encryption. It’s is possible to not have end to end encryption.
It is possible to have a backdoor to allow the authorities to read messages. It is possible to not have a backdoor to allow the authorities to read messages.
It is not possible to have end to end encryption with a backdoor. The existence of a backdoor necessarily requires that it is not end to end encryption.
For the entirely logical reason that end to end means the encryption is on the user’s machine, with their key, that the system does not then have. The decryption is on the destination machine with that key. Meaning that no one looking at the system level has the key nor can read the messages. This is just what the “end to end” part means.
The Home Office demand is, if only they understood it themselves, that we not be allowed to send private messages that they cannot read. Now that we understand that point our reaction is?