GCHQ: Government Should Have Final Say on Encryption, Not Tech Firms

By Gary Cutlack on at

The head of GCHQ has asked the government and the tech companies to work together to come up with a palatable and workable solution to the problem of bad people using encryption, saying that it's the governments of the world -- not Google and Apple -- that should take responsibility and put rules into place concerning the locking of data and stipulate clearly when and how it might be unlocked.

Robert Hannigan told his audience at the MIT that: "We need a new relationship between the tech sector, academia, civil society and government agencies. We should be bridging the divide, sharing ideas and building a constructive dialogue in a less highly-charged atmosphere.

"The solution is not, of course, that encryption should be weakened, let alone banned. But neither is it true that nothing can be done without weakening encryption," he added, although he stopped short of pulling up a list of bullet points revealing exactly how we should deal with an encrypted iPhone that may or may not contain details of a plan to detonate dirty bombs all across the Home Counties.

That's the job of the government, says Hannigan, who summed up his thoughts with: "Since the trade-offs are for society as a whole, it must surely be for elected representatives to decide the parameters of what is acceptable." [BBC via Belfast Telegraph]

Want more updates from Gizmodo UK? Make sure to check out our @GizmodoUK Twitter feed, and our Facebook page.