So as of last week we have a new Prime Minister, in the form of Boris Johnson. That means we also have a new government, because a big chunk of the last one resigned in protest over that laughing stock of a man being in charge of the country. But things aren't changing a whole lot. The Brexit situation is still at a standstill, nobody knows what's really going on, and the government still wants to undermine encryption for reasons that still show it doesn't understand a damn thing about technology.
We have a new home secretary in the form of Priti Patel, and like Amber Rudd and Theresa May she's called on tech companies to stop being so god damn stubborn about the whole encryption thing. Why? Because our government just loves to spy on us, and it can't not insist on another way to intrude on our lives and snoop at what's going on under the guise of catching terrorists and criminals. Because as we all know there are no other ways to catch terrorists and criminals than by snooping on everyone's WhatsApp chat logs.
Patel called for this repeated watering down of security in a column in the Daily Telegraph (because of course it was the Telegraph). She's calling for tech companies to install a back door into their encrypted chat services because the government wants to be able to let the police catch criminals.
“This is not an abstract debate: Facebook’s recently announced plan to apply end-to-end encryption across its messaging platforms presents significant challenges which we must work collaboratively to address.
The use of end-to-end encryption in this way has the potential to have serious consequences for the vital work which companies already undertake to identify and remove child abuse and terrorist content.
It will also hamper our own law enforcement agencies, and those of our allies, in their ability to identify and stop criminals abusing children, trafficking drugs, weapons and people, or terrorists plotting attacks.”
It's an argument we've heard many, many times over the past several years, from several different governments. And so far the tech companies seem to have stood their ground and told the politicians to fuck off - but in a much more diplomatic way. Obviously they understand that a back door for the British government weakens security globally, and opens up their platforms to access from nefarious parties. Criminals, hackers, foreign governments, that sort of thing, because a backdoor for anyone is a backdoor for everyone, no matter how they try and hide it.
Let's not forget that the Wannacry attacks exploited the EternalBlue exploit, which was supposedly developed for use by the NSA. And with all the hubbub about Huawei potentially having ties to the Chinese government the last thing the British government should be doing is making it easier for the boogeymen in Chinese intelligence to snoop on our private communications. It's just so damn sad that these sorts of ideas have the backing of the Five Eyes nations, especially when they themselves have proven they don't know what they're talking about either.
You know what would actually help the police catch criminals and terrorists, though? Not cutting their budgets to the point of collapse. It's a bit fucking rich to try and blame their shortcomings on encryption.