U.K. backs off plan to ban end-to-end encryption

Originally published at: U.K. backs off plan to ban end-to-end encryption | Boing Boing


“We’ve committed to not doing this stupid thing until a snake oil salesman successfully rigs a demo.”

With truths like that you don’t even need to be lying.


In the meantime EU is working on practically banning open souce software in general by imposing requirements that can be met only by large corporations:


It’s not logic that made the UK back off. It’s the fact Meta showed their threat to take away WhatsApp in the UK was not idle when they responded to the Canadian link tax law by blocking all news links on Facebook et al.

British politicians like Boris Johnson love WhatsApp for its encryption that protects them from public records laws and the snooping of rivals (and their utterly lawless intelligence services that did not hesitate to bug former PM Harold Wilson in anticipation of a coup). It’s OK for the proles to lose their privacy but intolerable if that happens to politicos.


Came to speculate much the same. The penny finally dropped that if this law is passed (and assuming WhatsApp stays) government ministers will no longer be able to get up to off-the-record plotting shit that would otherwise be mandatorily recorded by their civil servants and potentially in the public record and/or discoverable by FOI requests.


If that came to pass, watch the entire EU, and possibly the world grind to a halt. The world runs on open source software and the untold number of hours out into it. No commercial entity could come close to replicating what’s already out there, that’s why they all rely on even the littlest bit of OSS.


It has been noted that an amendment to actually do this has seemingly not yet been put forward, with the government merely saying that their position has not changed. Instead, they appear to be relying upon a position which says that because it is technically not yet (!) possible to do what is demanded, the fact that the regulatory authority would have the ability to demand it doesn’t matter so why worry?
Yeah, that’s completely reassuring, isn’t it?


The EU has a proposed law aimed at end-to-end encryption too (CSAR), though it involves mandatory client-side scanning. I’m not sure what the status is though.

And there are ones submitted to US Congress all the time, though thankfully they seem to just die in committee.

I fear things will just get worse if we ever get something like augmented reality glasses where they could demand a video feed from everyone. Or heaven forbid neural interfaces. You know someone will desire to make thoughts a crime. For the children of course.


There’s also a good chance that OSS would grind to a halt too, considering how much development is done by Germans.


Snooping on people’s messages is a lazy way to investigate stuff.

The decrypted messages are on the sending and receiving phones, which government officials are obliged by law to enter into the record. The fact that Boris Johnson and others have tried to avoid doing so speaks volumes.

Of course it isn’t even necessary to have the decrypted messages. The WAGnarok trial (Rebecca Vardy vs Coleen Rooney) included a mobile phone full of allegedly incriminating messages from Vardy’s personal assistant, which had mysteriously fallen by accident into the North Sea after it was summonsed by the lawyers for the case. The supposed contents of the phone were admitted into evidence on an existing legal principle. Vardy lost.


And generally by EU citizens. I’m a contbitutor to open souce projects too, with tens of thousands of lines of code contributed this year. If open source software becomes illegal I’m not sure if I can keep going - it’s the only remaining thing in life that makes me happy.


Is there any petitioning or other concern-raising activity going on in relation to that? Not that I’d have standing… :rage:

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AFAIK The law is going through as-is. All they’ve done is said that they “promise” not to use this law, for the moment. I would not trust this assurance further than I can spit on a hungover morning.


The computer industry will fall apart without open source. Loads of servers, routers and RAID systems run on Linux. Android runs on a Linux kernel. So does ChromeOS.


Never. Trust. A. Tory.


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