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Yes, You’re Right, The Home Office Is Mad

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?

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Arthur the Cat
Arthur the Cat
16 days ago

At least they’ve not yet gone as mad as the Australians, where one politician claimed that the laws of Australia beat the laws of mathematics. Definite shades of 1984 and 2+2=5 if the state says so.

jgh
jgh
15 days ago

Typewriters can be used by kiddie-fiddler, BAN TYPEWRITERS!!!!!!
Cars can be used by kiddie-fiddlers, BAN CARS!!!11!!!1
Oxygen is breathed by kiddie-fiddlers, BAN OXYGEN!£$”£!”£!””£!!

Spike
Spike
15 days ago
Reply to  jgh

This is the exact basis for the U.S. requirement to file a report on any use of $3,000 or more in cash.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
15 days ago

It’s almost impossible to put into words a coherent reaction. Agencies of the State want to read private correspondence, with a warrant issued by a judge, how have we sunk so low. So much for the European Convention on Human Rights and the right to privacy. What is equally disturbing is that on the Opposing Benches they are even worse. Lisa Nandy Labour’s Shadow Foreign Minister MP recently opined, when laying out Labour’s foreign policy, that the Chinese Communist Party’s strategic groups in government were better than Britain’s; presumably she means better at imprisoning dissenters and harvesting their organs as… Read more »

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt
15 days ago
Reply to  Leo Savantt

“with OUT a warrant issued by a judge,”

Barks
Barks
15 days ago
Reply to  Leo Savantt

Yes, and the FISA court in the USA, supposed to be absolutely free from any coercion from the government, has turned into a rubber stamp for all kinds of nefarious activities by the spooks and FBI who want to read your mail (and Candidate Donald J. Trump’s campaign messages).

dodgy geezer
dodgy geezer
15 days ago

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…. Oh, you can have end-to-end encryption that the… Read more »

rhoda klapp
rhoda klapp
15 days ago

Can’t they just ask the Chinese for a copy?

Snarkus
Snarkus
14 days ago

well, there is the old man In Middle attack. An Oz departments firewalls were doing token swapping so employees bank accounts and passwords were intercepted in clear test and nothing looked off at user end due to certificate fiddling. Perhaps browsers have got better at detecting this, but no doubt some snoop thinks it is a great idea to implement at ISP level. Probably why Oz snoop agencies warn Fed Gov staff with security clearances about using Tor or VPNs. Makes them a target. Best argument I have heard for all of Oz to use a VPN or three. Odd… Read more »

Alex Noble
14 days ago

Asking for such powers is a good way to convince credulous users you don’t already have them, and enables your snitch to retain his credibility by grandiosely telling you to get stuffed.

The more loudly the Surveillance State and its tech partners boast of their honour, the faster I count my spoons.

Pat
Pat
14 days ago

If the government has a way of reading private messages, how long before the world at large has?
It needs to be pointed out that the result of this move would be hackers, or indeed foreign governments, having access to all government communications.

ECH
ECH
12 days ago

Advice for English Speaking Countries (probably applies to non-English countries too): Pack all your politicians and non-elected gov officials onto a cargo ship and send it on a one-way trip to Antarctica (and hope it sinks on the way there).

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
11 days ago
Reply to  ECH

A more humane solution would be a Truman Show-style giant dome and they all think that they’re actually politicking. However, our mob that looked after a colony of feral cats found that trapping and destroying the cats only created a vacuum for other ferals to move into. Make being a politician a hanging offence and another crew would give themselves the power to manage the hanging process.

Michael van der Riet
Michael van der Riet
11 days ago

Let’s be generous and say that practising paedophiles are 0.1% of the population. Let’s be generous (for the sake of argument lol) and say that all practising paedophiles use encrypted messaging, without which they would be helpless or should I say impotent. That doesn’t seem like a very good reason to remove the privacy rights of the rest of us.

Snarkus
Snarkus
8 days ago

perhaps the bureaucrats are simply ignorant and completely unimaginative. Maybe they do think that making a law means it will be obeyed. Also, they cannot imagine ltheir rules being misused. As anyone who lives in real world knows, even coppers eventually try to ignored stupid laws unless a Cause is being whipped up. Except in Victoria Oz where it seems not so exStasi have settled.

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