back to article Privacy is for paedophiles, UK government seems to be saying while spending £500k demonising online chat encryption

The British government's PR campaign to destroy popular support for end-to-end encryption on messaging platforms has kicked off, under the handle "No Place To Hide", and it's as broad as any previous attack on the safety-guaranteeing technology. Reported by us well in advance last year, the £500k campaign aims to destroy …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inrage and outrage

    I am outraged. Of course I do not want e2e when communicating with my accountant, lawyer, significant other, business partners, bank, or anybody else in my life. I am gagging for any and every shady little hacker to help themselves, and I trust the police, Google, Facebook, online stalkers, agents provocateurs and organised crime implicitly, not to abuse the absence of it. How can these e2e activists possibly imagine otherwise? The government should be told!

    Pip pip!

    pp. Lord GNU Object Model Environment (no relation)

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Lord GNU

      Sure you are not Lord Gnome?

      Mine's the one with the latest Private Eye in the pocket.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Inrage and outrage

      I asked someone at a party at Christmas (everyone had to test negative to gain entry) what he had against end to end encryption. He said something similar to the Banardo’s tweet and that people can use it to hide their dodgy financial dealings etc. “I have nothing to hide” I asked him if he had curtains in his house and he said “obviously” so I said he therefore did have something to hide.

      Did he bank online yes he did and seemed oblivious to the fact that used it, until I told him. Did he shop online, yes and again was amazed that this too used e2ee. Oddly though he thought email did and I told him the oft repeated phrase Don’t write anything in an email that you wouldn’t write and send on a postcard. He had no idea and sent his card details CVV address and all via email.

      People need education because yes you can get rid of e2ee but you also get rid of so many other things that rely on it.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Inrage and outrage

        > People need education

        Definitely, but what people really get is propaganda, because that makes them more docile and easier to handle. Really educated people are critical, rebellious and demanding, not easy to push around or keep silent.

        Luckily, since you start out with an utterly naive and uncritical mass, you just have to classify propaganda as education, and if the pill is hard to swallow you sugarcoat it with some pseudo-ethical glaze. And "Think of the children!" is the favorite flavor worldwide, because nobody, of no political/religious persuasion, can possibly argue with that, not to mention it has the added bonus of stamping any naysayer automatically as a disgusting pervert. No wonder it gets thrown around so much.

    3. druck Silver badge

      Re: Inrage and outrage

      You don't actually want end to end encryption when communicating with someone from your bank, because I assume you trust your bank. With end to end encryption your bank would not have access to the communication, and if their employee advised you badly, there would be no record of it. What you want is the traffic encrypted between you and the bank, and the bank and their employee, but for the bank to be able to access that communication in case any advice is disputed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inrage and outrage

        lol that is not accurate at all,,,, Either side, banker and banking DO have the messages or they wouldn't be communicating, Each can save the conversation if they want to. All End to End Encryption does is stop "others" from seeing the conversation between the two of you. Not sure what you were thinking of, but it's not this.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Inrage and outrage

          End to end encryption is only needed when you do not trust the service provider of the communication. If you are using your bank's video communication (rather than Zoom or whatsapp) and you don't trust them, what are you doing with that bank?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            wow, If you are text chatting with your bank, and giving them account numbers, your address, that you will be traveling, all that is gold to criminals. All (US) banks use encrypted Emails (and other methods that are regulated) for secure communication with members when account/PII is included (required by law). How do I know this, I am IT Security at an FI. You should talk to "your bank" about 'if there communications are secure" they should be eager to tell you how secure it is and what level of encryption is used.

            1. druck Silver badge

              Re: Inrage and outrage

              In your position I'm really surprised you don't know the difference between encryption and end to end encryption.

              1. Number 39

                Re: Inrage and outrage

                Doesn't this depend on whether you define end as arriving at the bank or arriving at the employee?

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Inrage and outrage

                  yes, and there is only "the bank". To clarify (for others) Banks (talking US, as thats the regulations I know) the only Chat app allowed is the banks app. There is no possibility of other chat apps being used. They are blocked by app, port, at the desktop, internal network and firewall. Just as if it was (and likely would be) malicious activity. Data going in and out is strictly monitored as it is expected that these apps would be used for exfiltration of customer data by malicious actors. There is zero possibility of chatting with bank staff on work equipment over any chat app other than the banks system, and just like all phone calls the content is recorded and or documented. Sadly not even employees are trusted due to the one in a 100,000 that would scam someone. There is always more to know, but I hope this clarifies a little just how serious financial places have to take access to data.

                  1. tip pc Silver badge

                    Re: Inrage and outrage

                    There is zero possibility of chatting with bank staff on work equipment over any chat app other than the banks system, and just like all phone calls the content is recorded and or documented. Sadly not even employees are trusted due to the one in a 100,000 that would scam someone. There is always more to know, but I hope this clarifies a little just how serious financial places have to take access to data.

                    What you describe is not end to end encryption.

                    End to end is like me sending you a WhatsApp or an iMessage or making a call or video over those systems. No one along the path would be able to decipher and replay the communications.

                    What you describe is like end to point encryption. My comms between my computer and your bank would be encrypted and safe from eves dropping but once at your bank your systems are free to do whatever including recording and monitoring. From your messaging server to your staff’s chat client would be encrypted too, that could be end to end, neither end being the customer who initiated the comms.

                    I don’t think traditional social media does e2ee otherwise I wouldn’t be able to read public posts from a Google search.

                    It seems like being pedantic and splitting hairs but it’s a hugely important distinction.

                    Apple is struggling with this for their iCloud photos where they want “true” end to end encryption where no one but the customer can read the data but also want to negate csam and have proposed scanning on the client to flag specific content for further analysis and reporting.

                    There is likely room for a halfway house where comms to trusted (large providers like Facebook, twitter etc) being encrypted in transit but the scanned at the other end. That would preclude iMessage, WhatsApp, telegram etc as the providers can’t scan the content in transit as only the sender and receiver can decrypt.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            For fuck sake.

            1. Sub 20 Pilot

              Re: Inrage and outrage

              Possibly a bit like 'increment' and 'excrement'...

          3. Sub 20 Pilot

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            I sincerely hope that nobody relies on you for sensible advice on communication safety.

        2. NATTtrash
          Trollface

          Re: Inrage and outrage

          Either side, banker and banking DO have the messages or they wouldn't be communicating, Each can save the conversation if they want to.

          Indeed...

          Bring your own booze!

          Why is Martin encouraging a mass gathering in the garden?

          [...]

      2. midgepad

        Re: Inrage and outrage

        You may care to consider ehat the ends are in a conversation between me and my bank.

        I'm one, the bank is the other.

        1. druck Silver badge

          Re: Inrage and outrage

          No, with end to end encryption, you are one end, the bank employee (who may be working from home) is the other, the bank (as the service provider) does not have access - that's the entire point.

          1. Filippo Silver badge

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            I can't do public key cryptography in my head, and I don't think the bank employee can either, so neither of us are endpoints. My phone is an endpoint, and his computer is an endpoint, and his computer is very likely owned by the bank, or administered by the bank. He might be working from home, in which case it's fairly likely that communication is not E2EE, but rather two E2EE segments, with the bank in the middle.

            I would also argue that, even if it worked like you claim, I would still desire E2EE, because I'd rather trust the bank employee, than trust that nobody is tapping any of the several steps - some of which are physical broadcasts - between me and the bank.

            But nevermind all that! The article is mentioning mobile banking apps. Which are fully automated. There is no bank employee at all. The endpoint is indeed the bank's servers.

          2. ThatOne Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            > with end to end encryption, you are one end, the bank employee (who may be working from home) is the other

            Unless you communicate with your bank employee using WhatsApp, this is utter nonsense. Legally your communication is between you and your bank, the employee in question is merely one of the many faces of that bank. And the bank will make sure (for legal reasons) that whatever its employees are doing is duly documented and traceable. Do you really believe banks will let their employees do their own thing without leaving any legally binding trail?

            "Why don't you take a million or two home in cash, just in case someone wants to make a quick withdrawal?"...

          3. Precordial thump

            Re: Inrage and outrage

            If the employee is WFH and the communication is properly secured, you have e2ee with the bank AND the employee has e2ee with the bank.

      3. RegGuy1 Silver badge

        Re: Inrage and outrage

        Haha -- you are a brexit voter and I claim my 5 euros.

  2. MrBanana Silver badge

    What do you expect for £500,000?

    This is obviously not a serious attempt to do anything. If they really meant it, there would be £50 million in funds exclusively available to their mates, Tory party donors, and other, sundry criminals. Even that pub landlord next door, wouldn't get out of bed for £500,000.

    1. Blazde

      Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

      Are Barnardo's chipping in a few quid too maybe? Very disappointed to see them wading into such a far-reaching political argument.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

        Reading the comments I do not think it's been received too well at all.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

          > Reading the comments

          If you mean the comments here, be careful: This here is a vanishingly tiny, special minority which (more or less) knows what encryption is. The vast majority out there only knows encryption is something you use to keep secrets, and secrets are necessarily evil ("nothing to hide").

          Reinforcing that ignorance and giving them arguments (no matter how fallacious) is worth the money, and I'm pretty sure that campaign will succeed in increasing the latent and diffuse hostility towards encryption. The opinions of a handful of privacy freaks is of no consequence at all.

      2. Evilgoat76

        Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

        You might want to look at their past. We aren't just talking little skeletons here....

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

        Any large charity has a vested interest in attracting the public to the "good" they are doing. Barnado's publicity in the 19th century used re-staged photographs of apparently destitute children.

    2. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: What do you expect for £500,000?

      Well, yeah, they spent £37Bn on 'Test and Trace' and didn't even manage to backdoor everyone's phones.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

    ...is a term used by the fascist state who want a Stasi level of monitoring into every aspect of your life.

    Welcome to Tory 'police state' Britain.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Maybe we should ask ministers to read this paper.

      Actually I suspect that they know the arguments and really hope that most of us do not read it.

      Further comments by Bruce Schneier

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        Just reading this article would be a good start.

      2. ShadowSystems

        At Alain Williams...

        It should be mandatory to print out those articles, laminate them for protection against the elements, & nail gun it to the forehead of every politician on the planet.

        *Hands you a pint in gratitude for providing the links*

        Cheers!

      3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        I must admit I kinda like the irony that the first thing that pops up when trying to read the Schneier article on Wired is a box that tells you that someone cares about your privacy and you should really, really allow them to track your every move (indicated by the fact that "accept" is one button and the other "show purposes" is phrased that way because it makes it appear you have no alternatives (whereas in reality they're hiding behind that button) - and, of course, there is no "f*ck off" button which allows you to reject it all, including the (il)legitimate purpose bypass. Oh, and the "neccesary-and-you-can't-switch-it-off" functionality encompasses fun things such as "Data from offline data sources can be combined with your online activity in support of one or more purposes".

        Bloody criminals - that's exactly why I use a locked down browser, it's really no longer optional.

        Privacy remains a fight :(.

        1. Antipode77

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          Bruce Schneiers essay on this subject can be freely accessed through this link.

          https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2006/05/the_eternal_value_of.html

    2. John Sager

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Just to point out, Labour were as bad on this topic when it was their turn to make up the rules.

      1. sed gawk

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        you can forget an improvement from Stamer's Labour - in the words of the newest MP

        Elected on a Conservative manifesto, Wakeford has voted consistently with the government and declared yesterday: “I was elected a moderate and a centrist, and I’m still a moderate and a centrist, I just wear a different rosette.”

        [1] https://inews.co.uk/opinion/christian-wakeford-defect-election-tory-labour-bury-south-1412892

        1. sed gawk

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          This Tells a Story -Tory MP Christian Wakeford defected to Labour, voted for the Policing Bill, privatization of the NHS, cut in Universal Credit, cap on benefits, end of triple-lock; hike in tax & national insurance

          Jeremy Corbyn opposed all of the above - Labour whip withdrawn.

          https://twitter.com/premnsikka/status/1484122551706075136

          1. sabroni Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Jeremy Corbyn opposed all of the above - Labour whip withdrawn.

            In the name of anti-semitism the labour party has purged itself of Jewish members who support the Palestinian people.

            Because nothing says "We're not antisemitic" like a jew purge.

        2. Sub 20 Pilot

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          As we used to say in less politically correct and morally judgmental times - ''same c*nt, different tie.''

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      @A/c

      This stuff has being going on for years. All governments want to know everything about us.

      Remind me again, which government was going to bring in I.D. cards?

      As an aside, I remember reading a year or so ago that most M.P's werel switching from WhatsApp to Signal. Indeed large parts of the American military have been ordered not to use it. What do our M.P's know that they are not telling us?

      Though in the U.K. none of this natters. If you are asked to give up your password and you refuse? I think it is a maximum of 2 years in prison. Been that way for decades now.

      You could always write to your M.P..

      https://www.theyworkforyou.com

      But very few will

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        No maximum for withholding (or forgetting), they can bring you back and ask again ad infinitum.

        Each one a repeat offence...

      2. MrBanana Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        "Remind me again, which government was going to bring in I.D. cards?"

        Given time, all of them.

        The UK populace are screwed. Voting in a different flavour political party will change nothing.

        1. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: Voting in a different flavour political party will change nothing.

          How do we vote in a decent electorate?

      3. Sub 20 Pilot

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        They must have got that domain name because someone else had ''www.theylookafterthemselvesand cuckyou.com''

    4. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      You're thinking of a Gestapo police state, The Stasi were anything but fascist.

      The unlucky Germans who suffered both will tell you there was zip difference in practise.

      It's governments fear of the masses, not political parties behind banning encryption.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        Same thing, different coat of paint.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      To be honest, that should surprise no-one.

      When Boris Johnson is in favour of liberty, or described as having liberal tendencies, it just means that he believes in his own freedom to do whatever he likes. As soon as it applies to others he is decidedly authoritarian.

      https://borisjohnson.themaninquotes.com/tags/authoritarian/

      1. AlbertH
        Mushroom

        Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

        FFS stop calling that clown "Boris". That's just a cuddly affectation suggested by his PR people. His name is "Alexander Johnson". Sounds a lot less cuddly, doesn't it?

        Just remember - his ex-girlfriend is Ghislaine Maxwell...... That should tell you all you need to know about him.....

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          We'd need the full ex-girlfriend list to determine relevance...

        2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          Yeah, and stop calling the witch Maggie, it just makes her sound nice and cuddly.....

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

          To be fair to him, it's a hell of a flex to use his FSB asset codename as his UK public persona...

          (/s, in case it wasn't obvious)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Nothing to Heil, nothing Fear.

    7. Rufus McDufus

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Well, the likes of Telegram are looking likely to be banned in a number of countries in the very near future.

    8. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Do you seriously think that Labour wouldn't be doing exactly the same? These campaigns are initiated by Home Office civil servants and they keep pushing for increased surveillance regardless of who is in government.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: Do you seriously think that Labour wouldn't be doing exactly the same?

        Pure whataboutery.

    9. Sub 20 Pilot

      Re: Nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide....

      Let us not forget that Blair's gov was pushing for this type of surveillance years ago. Most political parties are the same.

  4. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Power

    The power needs to know who, when and how is conspiring against them. Given the Great Reset agenda and potential unrest building up they need to have a view of all conversations.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Power

      They know who is conspiring against them, it's backbenchers and usually the home secretary

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Power

        Hence the House of Commons maxim:

        Your opponents are opposite you, your enemies are behind you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Power

          "Keep your friends close - and your enemies closer."

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Keep your friends close - and your enemies closer."

            I'm gonna give you a lyrical dose-ah!

  5. msobkow Silver badge

    I do wonder what species politicians are; they're not anywhere near intelligent enough for humans...

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > I do wonder what species politicians are

      Infinitely ruthless and power hungry people, consumed by ambition, but who were too intelligent to go the "organized crime" route: While crime pays, politics pays even more, and the risks are way lower...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh really? Did Prince Andrew do much online chatting with e2e then?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Ban private jets - problem solved

      1. Clausewitz 4.0
        Devil

        And private islands, little boys in churchs, maybe royal titles

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          "And private islands, little boys in churchs, maybe royal titles"

          You can add a fair number of children's homes to the list too.

          1. GruntyMcPugh

            It's ironic Barnardos are backing the #NoPlaceToHide initiative, when hiding might have stopped many of their wards from getting abused.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @A/C

      The "child" was 17 when she was supposedly assaulted.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Isn't meeting at parties how old rich blokes get young pretty trophy wives?

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. msobkow Silver badge

        Oh, yes, well he got to her before she was a legal adult, didn't he? Lovely man; truly a shining example for humanity to look up to.

        Not.

        1. Clausewitz 4.0
          Devil

          If he had consensual sex with a 16+ woman, all fine by UK's law. And some other countries too.

          If he paid for sex with a 17, not ok by law.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Rumour has it that she was 15 when she was first fed to Randy Andy

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The legal definition of a "child" varies between jurisdictions worldwide - even between states in the US. The latter has caused the current judge to reject some claims on the alleged specific location of an offence. Incidentally several US states still allow legalised marriage at the age of 10.

        1. jake Silver badge

          "Incidentally several US states still allow legalised marriage at the age of 10."

          Much younger, actually. Technically. With a court order and parental consent. Remember, a marriage is legally a contract. Minors are not allowed to enter into a contract, their parent(s)/guardian(s) must do it for them.

          With that said, the age for general marriage across the United States is 18, with exceptions in Nebraska (19) and Mississippi (21).

          With parental consent and/or a court order to issue a marriage license, that age can drop. Many states allow these "underage marriages" at 16, with a few at 17 (9) or 15 (3), and one at 14 (Alaska).

          6 states do not allow minors to marry at all.

          9 states have no minimum marriage age codified in Law ... in theory, a newborn could be legally married with both parental consent and a court order. Good luck getting that court order, though, even if the parents are stupid enough to allow it. In these states (which includes California (surprise!)) it is extremely rare for a marriage to be allowed if one of the parties is under 16. Last time I looked it up, 15 year olds were around 4% of the total underage marriages. Under that age, the numbers were well under 1% in total, with 14 year olds being the vast majority. The youngest I am aware of this century is three marriages of 10 year olds in Tennessee (all girls), and one 11 year old boy in the same state. Tennessee has since changed their law, making it illegal for anyone under 17 to marry.

          There is no federally set age for marriage.

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      I do wonder where Barnardos and the NSPCC were when Jimmy Saville was touring the nation’s children’s homes…

      No WhatsApp back then.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        ..and UK MP Cyril Smith doing something similar.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Savile was also able to access hospitals (including the Nurse's quarters - who approved that???), and advised management at Broadmoor Secure Hospital. He had a regular 'breakfast party' with police officers in his Leeds home, and, while at the BBC, was alone in a room with a boy when someone opened the door, saw what was going on, apologised shut the door and left.

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    There is a very simple counter argument, that the lay person can understand.

    Would you willingly accept someone you don't know standing outside of your front door, and when the postman comes to deliver your letters, this person would take the letters and read them before putting them through your door?

    No?

    Then why would you be against E2EE?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I explained it to a neighbour by saying:

      Would you want government cameras in your house - the obvious answer is no.

      Even those who have "nothing to hide" as they like to argue typically cave when you ask why they don't want government monitored cameras in their hall outside their bathroom.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Even those who have "nothing to hide" as they like to argue typically cave when you ask why they don't want government monitored cameras in their hall outside their bathroom."

        They probably do have Ring doorbells and Amazon Alexas scattered around the house though.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Another demonstration of ignorance.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Facepalm

            And solid proof that the label is all that is important.

            Everybody is against "bad things", unless they aren't labeled "bad things", in which case they are acceptable. The opposite is true too: Nobody has something against "positive things", unless they are labeled "bad things".

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Alternatively:

      Do you shop, bank or use any other service online? If so read the T&Cs of those services and you will that there are things you are contractually obliged to hide.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And if he or she answers, "Yes" because he or she lived through World War II, where the mail WAS actually snooped for spy activity and was condoned?

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        You obviously didn't know well anyone who did live through that war.

        When I was a small child in the 1960's I was scared of nuclear war. My parents, who did live through the war, didn't tell me not to worry, everything would be all right. Instead, they explained that the risk was a price worth paying to defend freedom. They explained that we had to fight against the communist dictators and their systems of secret police. They explained that in those countries people were afraid of policemen; that people had to carry papers; that people could be stopped on the street and have to explain themselves for no reason at all. And that we were at risk of nuclear war because we wouldn't accept that.

        Yes, during the war extra restrictions were put in place - but they were dismantled afterwards because freedom was what the war was about!

        1. Alumoi Silver badge
          Trollface

          You do know there'a war on terror going now, right? And another on child molesters. And another on drugs. And another on...

          Citizen, YOU must do your part and if this means some minor inconveniences like restricting some of your fundamental rights, so be it.

          Note: I said YOUR not OUR. Signed: your friendly government

          1. jake Silver badge

            "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." —Benjamin Franklin, 1759

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              To which I'd ask, "Suppose the two are mutually incompatible by default? Does that mean the human race is incompatible with democracy long-term?"

              And the evidence seems to bear this out, as no democract seems to last all that long, and even the ones today are teetering.

              1. SundogUK Silver badge

                Not sure what you're trying to say here. Franklin is very clearly saying you should never give up your freedom and you should fight against anyone you tries to take it away from you.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Suppose freedom is its own worst enemy? I mean, what is anarchy but an extreme form of freedom? And perhaps humans really aren't well-suited for that kind of freedom...

                2. ThatOne Silver badge
                  Devil

                  > Franklin is very clearly saying you should never give up your freedom and you should fight against anyone you tries to take it away from you

                  Yes, that was a really unpolitical thing to say, and all politicians since have backpedaled as fast as they could: Who in his right mind would call the sheep to rebel against the shepherd?... Think of the lost income and the added workload of that shepherd: He needs his sheep to be docile and willing to yield their wool and meat without any hesitation...

                  1. Wellyboot Silver badge
                    Holmes

                    >>>Who in his right mind would call the sheep to rebel against the shepherd?<<<

                    That'll be people like Franklin & co. who went on to be the new shepherds...

        2. jake Silver badge

          Yeah, but ...

          ... try telling that to kids today!

          I'm roughly the same age as you, and can report similar from my childhood (I'm in California). Except I wasn't afraid of nuclear war ... Living about 4 miles from Moffett field, I knew that we probably wouldn't even survive long enough to register the flash ... As my Dad put it,"We won't need to worry about fallout because we'll be the fallout".

  8. Victor Ludorum
    Joke

    Isnt' it wonderful

    I'm so happy that there are so many people in Government who understand the necessary hashtags.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Isnt' it wonderful

      "understand" might be a bit strong.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear. Something to Hide, Everything to Fear.

    IT aint hard to understand surely?

    Was it all just a dream or did I read somewhere recently that MP’s have switched to using Telegram [or was it Signal] rather than WhatsApp to try and keep their shenanigans more private than was available to them before? I wonder what GCHQ and the terrorist watch squads in the likes of MI5/MI6 make of that adjustment ..... even as the honourable members imagine they are not being surveilled because of some prior agreement ages ago which suggested that there be no need and they have a privileged position which renders them immune from covert investigation ...... which of course would be one of the dumbest and most crazy of things to consider wise and acceptable, given what is so well known about all of things that they do and have done.

    Some of them are out and out warmongers and others crooked fraudsters spending and wasting hundreds of million of other folks money on things which are not fit for purpose. What a racket.

    1. ClockworkOwl
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear. Something to Hide, Everything to Fear.

      I always did think that if an algorithm was going to fade over into thought, that cynicism would be the favoured mode...

      Again I find you have a very clear view of reality..!

    2. rg287 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear. Something to Hide, Everything to Fear.

      Was it all just a dream or did I read somewhere recently that MP’s have switched to using Telegram [or was it Signal]

      I like to imagine there’s a little bell in the Kremlin that rings when one of the err… Honourable Members joins Telegram.

      Trebles all round I expect.

    3. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear. Something to Hide, Everything to Fear.

      Please stop that, amanfromMars 1. I understood every word you just said.

  10. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Isn't the majority of child abuse committed by someone already known to the child anyway like a family member? So they are much more likely to be communicating face to face than through some E2EE chat app. So maybe the government should also mandate everyone gets a Google or Amazon smart speaker installed in their houses so we can monitor for conversations about child abuse IRL as well. See how that goes down with Jo Public.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Yes, family members & other individuals in positions of power.

      Random other people generally have little to no access to children in an environment where abuse could take place unseen.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      > Isn't the majority of child abuse committed by someone already known to the child anyway

      Don't let technicalities get in the way of a good witch hunt. Real encryption needs to go, because we can't stand the idea of not knowing at any time what everybody is thinking about us.

  11. TonyJ

    Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

    ...but - and I've said this before, here, it has to be across the board. After all, if our government, ministers, police forces, armed forces etc have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

    Make it 100% mandatory across the board, but - and this is the crucial part - there can be no exemptions for MP's, senior police officers, etc etc etc. And anyone found using it at the point - those included - can be charged.

    Let's see how far their support goes when they actually have to eat their own dog food. Let's see how they react when told that all their banking has to be done without encryption and that when they visit a bank in person, they can't actually talk in private to staff - a complete stranger has to be there to record every word, spoken or written.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

      A complete stranger no.

      Do this properly, put the visits on a dedicated free to view TV channel.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

      But think. What if they actually agree to it?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

        There's a book which describes that situation: The Circle. In it, a company manages to get the required infrastructure to do that and enough public support to make everybody, including politicians, publish everything they do. This to the extent that people have to wear cameras at all times. It has some short-term benefits, but it predictably doesn't do much other than hand power over to the company which has many inventive ways to use that power. It can be a bit depressing to read it as what it suggests is possible, but still worth a read.

        1. Weeble

          Re: Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

          Sounds a lot like Google and Google Glass.

          Which came first? The surveillance specs or the book?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Sure. Why not cull E2EE...?

            The company in the book has a very Googly feel about it. Basically Google+Facebook. It mentions that that company bought all Facebook's data at some point for data mining. What happened to Google isn't mentioned. The culture of the company, though, would probably be very recognizable to anyone who has read the articles about the Google employee experience.

  12. The Griff

    Remember to...

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: Remember to...

      I do think of the children.

      And I don't want to leave them the kind of world such joker politicians are trying to create in order to protect their own eggs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember to...

      No thanks, I'm a healthy male and I prefer to think of women.

  13. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    'Dog whistle' politics

    This appears to be 'dog whistle' politics. The use of emotive language attacking a specific use of something you object to whilst ignoring the wider context, as Shakespeare says in Hamlet:

    "Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so" (Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2, page 11)

    The question is whether those proposing the ban on e2ee genuinely want it 'to protect the children' or whether they want to ban it for other, undisclosed, reasons. They are quite happy for government and 'defence of the realm' communications to be end to end protected. Barnardo's clearly is into child protection, but I doubt they are actually experts on information security.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: 'Dog whistle' politics

      > The question is whether those proposing the ban on e2ee genuinely want it 'to protect the children'

      I sure hope this is a rhetorical question. Of course they don't "think of the children" (except in case of unnatural attraction), they think of the only thing worth thinking about, their careers.

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "Privacy is for paedophiles"

    I totally agree.

    At the condition that every single government and wannabe-government email is publicly exposed for all to see.

    After all, you've got nothing to hide, right ?

  15. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "No Place To Hide"

    Even that small space in your apartment that is out of view of the telescreen is too much privacy. Who knows what horrible things you might do there?

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Re: "No Place To Hide"

      I betcha he's writing in an old notebook... :(

  16. The Insuranator

    Keep citizens safe and the country secure?

    From the Home Office website:

    "The first duty of the government is to keep citizens safe and the country secure. The Home Office plays a fundamental role in the security and economic prosperity of the UK."

    In breaking E2EE, they are suggesting it's okay to severely erode the security of 99.99% of citizens to protect the 0.01%. The tsunami of inevitable financial crime that will follow won't do much for our economic prosperity either.

    Hilariously (and frighteningly) ill-informed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keep citizens safe and the country secure?

      "they are suggesting it's okay to severely erode the security of 99.99% of citizens to protect the 0.01%"

      There's not even any protection to be gained at all. There are lots of ways to encrypt files.

      Cops want to press a button and have everything handed to them. If they press the button for the wrong person, oh well. Everyone is guilty of *something*, right? And they can't just ignore it when it's right there in front of them, now, can they.

  17. The Basis of everything is...
    Black Helicopters

    Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

    Is this co-incidence?

    The government & police want to be able to read all your communications, and completely separately the lady who is is supposed to be "thinking of the children" more than anyone else wants a single ID number for each child, and a real time dashboard at the DfE so they can see who is or isn't at school. Linking school, medical records, and police contact. Doesn't really leave much chance for privacy anywhere does it? Add in the ability to intercept all communications and... dammit, I'm sounding like the tinfoil hat nutters.

    "The children's commissioner for England is calling for every child to have a single identifying number that can be used by schools, health authorities and the police"

    Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-60054253

    And once you've been tagged, stamped, filed, indexed etc as a child, who thinks this will stop when you leave school? Reach 18? Leave college?

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

      And, even if it did end at 18 (for now), who wants to educate our children that being numbered, tracked and watched at all times is a good way to run society?

      I want our children to learn to be responsible adults, to learn the consequences of their actions and choices, and to learn what is good and bad about society.

      1. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

        And who would believe that at 18 all the records would actually be deleted?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

      "And once you've been tagged, stamped, filed, indexed etc as a child, who thinks this will stop when you leave school? Reach 18? Leave college?"

      They already have an NHS identifying number. And, later in life, an NI number. The system is already in place and has been for years. All it needs is a government IT project to link it all up :-)

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

        "All it needs is a government IT project to link it all up"

        Thank goodness we're safe for the foreseeable future.

    3. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: Protecting children. We want to know everthing about you.

      Maybe call GCHQ to track all adults with a mind-reading-microchip, to protect the children.

      Not.

  18. Howard Sway Silver badge

    "No Place To Hide"

    Brought to you by a man who hid in a big fridge to avoid answering questions from reporters during an election campaign.

    And who is currently hiding behind some ongoing investigation to find out whether or not he went to a piss-up.

    Insist he makes all his internal political communications public, and if he refuses..... well, we know what sort of person privacy is for, don't we, as they've just told us.

  19. MajorDoubt
    FAIL

    what a joke

    it's all to spy on the average person, since criminals will use uncrackable encryption. 99.999% of politicians are corrupted trash.

    1. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: what a joke

      Engineers and scientists also use uncrackable encryption.

      And NSA wants all our good tools, we need to protect our Intellectual Property from the NSA snoopers.

  20. Dabooka Silver badge

    Can we not just ban EE instead?

    Surely we'd all get behind that just to end the adverts

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me put this very simple and short:

    EVEN IF I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, I HAVE PLENTY TO PROTECT

    If the esteemed morons think that backdooring encryption is a good idea, I would welcome it if:

    a) they give us access to their own secrets - as public servants that shouldn't be a problem as they're seeking to inflict this on us;

    b) they accept civil and criminal liability if it all goes wrong, because that's kinda predictable, from protecting information to inserting data that doesn't belong (don't like your MP? Let's insert some CP and report him - oh no, wait, now evidence against REAL CP crimes is tainted);

    c) provide protection for everyone they so expose because trust me, if you really think having a master key is a good idea I suggest you see how hard it is to get a 3D print script for all the different TSA locks.

    It's bad enough that outfits like Microsoft already have the ability to listen in to every single email sent through their cloud service (yes, including the stuff hosted in Europe and yes, that includes traffic of sovereign governments dumb enough to use them for email), evidently that's not enough?

    Try first making sure that governments and law enforcement agencies don't hang on to data longer than they have to before you even go there - there are so many cases outstanding that that clearing that up alone will take another decade.

    Giving someone access to communication is first and foremost a matter of rights which we have since 1948), and straight after that it is a matter of trust and there isn't any right now - you pretty much blew that.

    Crawl back under your rock and stay there.

  22. jake Silver badge

    Conversation starter for your government officials:

    Why do you have a door between your toilet and the rest of the house? Why don't you have a plate-glass window to the street in your shower? Why do you have curtains on your bedroom windows? What are you hiding? Are you a paedophile?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Conversation starter for your government officials:

      And if they answer, "It was demanded of me by the public; apparently, they didn't like what they were seeing"?

  23. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    But how?

    Encryption is a mathematical process. It isn't magic. It exists and cannot be un-invented or regulated.

    Government & military have used encryption to keep secrets since the dawn of civilization. They are only pissed that modern computing capability makes it readily accessible to mere subjects.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More misdirection.............

    PGP, Proton Mail, Telegram, WhatsApp.......and all the others using "end-to-end encryption" have probably ALREADY been hacked in Cheltenham and Fort Meade.

    So.......anyone wanting some privacy should use private encryption BEFORE their messages enter ANY public channel. All you need is the Bruce Schneier book "Applied Cryptography" and a modern C compiler.

    So when the snoops decrypt your messages, all they find is........more encryption!!!!!!

    Private encryption -- could not happen to a nicer group of people!!! See below for some nice IDEA messaging! Enjoy!

    *

    g4MRrw0gDnhW17rp0lIxvQbcIFbtXcfFSlN9V3GN2yx9mJ5/+QaPZtrJhm2JqH4MeQd+HTdf3EaA

    Fqle23RKEEXWZzgiNQ4qmz+rIhDqzrMD8LElSGo5ukQlt5ARfGQP5f/yDMBytYJUZ/BI2jP8ettc

    hJSK2MHtKp5ODWq7pKceBp9S7XNnoLsXuuT9DiVfWdwaeXFpXnPCr4NzVnwISoNT8kYqqmClst87

    /lFVNZkSxtfBDJFlmV/BG3PHv0oA00Lyud+tMIJh/7nsCu02Z6491uTfzj3FkWqJnd76d7xQfteQ

    WxuaARUy5dsxWLSlorOinMFQI/LT9HT8xDJRqlvPEZGxgcVwZlpY3R1vauCjteXpStSDX4N61dMf

    IIafhm/Z8wBg/k4MFB6aPV1CCH1BxDlgJnlGn2VzndY9rCDq4NWPQliRjYOXlqe6zKfKny8AdmB7

    bf6w6ah8GDSO4XkvqEfH5/lzM1lvMayzQHyg60db/iqUFKocPIffCc/rVi3Uopf1UQvcv9xxU4rF

    aywmT5iRy6XvVGfwSNoz/Hq78j2uJQ+lZA==

    *

    P.S. No....this message is not native IDEA......you need to unpack it first with a base64 utility. Required for normal email use. Good luck!

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: More misdirection.............

      "All you need is the Bruce Schneier book "Applied Cryptography" and a modern C compiler."

      Yeah, roll your own encryption works really well. As evidenced by no professionally built encryption ever being broken or having errors or bugs in the code.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: More misdirection.............

        @John_Brown_(no_body)

        So true!! But the objective is not PERFECT PRIVACY! The objective is twofold:

        1. To make the snoops work for a living

        2. To make messaging private for a reasonable amount of time

        If public E2EE (Proton, PGP, WhatsApp, etc) has already been hacked, neither item #1 nor item #2 have been achieved!

        ....and if private encryption makes item #1 sufficiently hard for third parties, so much the better!!

      2. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: More misdirection.............

        Well, RSA as described in my 1982 edition of "The Art Of Computer Programming" is mathematically quite easy (as long as you accept that every prime number has a primitive root), and while not very efficient, would be efficient enough for an iPhone to encrypt or decrypt a few megabytes per second using 2048 bit keys and quite unbreakable.

  25. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Encryption

    is a tool just like the screwdriver on my desk.

    On one hand , I can use it to replace the oil return pipe.

    On the other hand I can leap screaming over the desk to my 'colleague' opposite and stab him to death with it

    Does that mean we need to ban screwdrivers? Just in case I take the second option... in which case , how to I fix the first option?

    Challenge your MP (if he/she back it) and tell them to transmit credit card data/personal data in clear plain text over the internet.

    Its about the only way to get them to think about it....until the whips get to them with "back this or a back bencher ye shall forever be"

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Encryption

      You mean screwdrivers don't kill people, people kill people?

      1. Alumoi Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Encryption

        Stupid, everybody knows guns kill people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Encryption

          Guns don’t kill people, rappers do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Encryption

            “ I seen it in a documentary on BBC2”

          2. SundogUK Silver badge

            Re: Encryption

            Well, and movie stars...

        2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Encryption

          No, *physics* kills people.

      2. Def Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Encryption

        You mean screwdrivers don't kill people, people kill people?

        That's a false analogy.

        Screwdrivers were created with a specific purpose - screwing screws. The fact that it's possible to use them as a weapon is beside the point - any blunt object can be used in such a manner. Guns, on the other hand, were created with the specific goal of killing people.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Encryption

          Who said anything about guns?

  26. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    We have to kill this once and for all

    I think it really is time to create some open source apps, with an open, standardised communication protocol, and plenty of different, but interoperating, implementations and make them widely available. Like email.

    If we can make them accessible enough, and with lots of apps on different platforms, it would be practically impossible for governments to ban/block/subvert them all. Sure, some would get removed from various app stores, some would get backdoored by state actors, some would be fakes created by criminals - but with diversity but interoperation would come an improved level of general security. And those who had need of the most confidence in their privacy (yes, including criminals) could use ones where they had strong confidence that the app was behaving correctly (for example, by paying people they trust to develop or review the code, using simple and very widely distributed versions, etc). Others who want pretty interfaces and ease of use and don't think they have anything to hide could go for Google and Facebook's versions - which would obviously be subverted by governments (although maybe not your own government!).

    There are hard problems to solve, of course. Including the big one: key distribution. But I believe that with a large group of hackers, with some serious leadership, they could be solved.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Open source??

      That's for paedophiles, terrorists, and liberal democrats.

      (I predict that soon it will be illegal to have a jailbroken phone.. And not long after that it will be illegal to run any software that wasn't signed by a megacorp. It will be considered theft to fail to send your data to Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, or Google)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Open source??

        Or just mandate a whitelist of acceptable hardware. Particularly at the processor level. Hard to get around that...

  27. Eclectic Man Silver badge
    Unhappy

    How many?

    I wonder how many paedophiles have actually been caught and found to have been using end to end encrypted communications? The former Rock Star, Gary Glitter, was caught because he had unencrypted indecent images on his computer hard drive which he wanted repaired (I believe that his defence was that the shop must have put them there).

    Now, I admit that I am all for not waiting until there is a n actual disaster before taking preventative action (climate change, vaccinations against nasty diseases like measles etc.), but some actual numbers of would be nice. All this on a day when there was a revelation about the former Archbishop Josef Ratzinger (now retired Pope Benedict XVI) having apparently known about catholic priests in his diocese who were not prosecuted for child abuse:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-60070132

    "Former Pope Benedict XVI failed to act over four child abuse cases when he was archbishop of Munich, a German probe into the Catholic Church has alleged.

    Pope Benedict, then called Josef Ratzinger, held the position from 1977 to 1982. He has denied the accusations.

    But a new report into historical abuse allegations carried out by a German law firm incriminated the former pontiff.

    Abuse continued under his tenure, it is alleged, and the accused priests remained active in church roles."

    He denies that he knew anything, of course, but frankly, even if he didn't, he should have known.

    1. Sub 20 Pilot

      Re: How many?

      For 'Pope' - read 'Chief Exec'' as they all manage to deny any knowledge of wrongdoing under their tenure. Ban the fucking lot.

  28. Scene it all

    If the politicians want an end to privacy for mere citizens, how about we turn the tables and insist on live YouTube streaming of *every* political office and committee meeting? Including No. 10, the White House, and so on? Why should the public's business be conducted in secret? Let every parliamentarian not wearing a body cam be suspected of underhanded dealing and taking bribes.

    Then we can see what tossers most of them really are.

    1. nijam Silver badge

      > Then we can see what tossers most of them really are.

      But who'd watch?

  29. Winkypop Silver badge
    Coat

    End to encryption?

    That’s one way to bring back cash payments along the High Street.

    “Four candles please”

    —> dust jacket

  30. alain williams Silver badge

    UK ICO disagrees with government

    In The Guardian: End-to-end encryption protects children, says UK information watchdog

    But I expect that the politicians will ignore what he says.

    So: what are they really after ? Never trust a politician.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So presumably the Government will have no objection ...

    ... to publish all ministers' Chats, Texts and emails in the name of transparency.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They can't push it *too* hard ...

    otherwise people will start asking why they need it ?

    And from there it's a little too easy - especially with history being what it is - to suggest the real reason politicians want their chats encrypted is because they all a bunch of paedos.

    And given the current trajectory of public trust in politicians - in free fall (and it was hardly +ve to start with) - that's a very easy sell.

  33. matjaggard

    Aren't you muddling point to point encryption?

    I don't understand the points you're trying to make. Encryption between my browser and mg bank is point to point encryption - HTTPS generally. It's not end to end - the message is sent to the bank's systems via SSL where it is then encrypted again with another SSL connection to the bank employee dealing with the message. This is the correct way to handle communication with the bank and is not End to end encryption.

    End to end encryption might or might not be a bad idea but don't try to make that argument using some technology that it is not even used for!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Aren't you muddling point to point encryption?

      If you're using something like WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram, then it's encrypted at your computer and decrypted at the employee's computer, with keys known ONLY to the two of you. That is the essence of end-to-end encryption, which unlike point-to-point minimizes the odds of a MITM attack.

      1. matjaggard

        Re: Aren't you muddling point to point encryption?

        Exactly but the arguments made in the article in favour of end to end encryption are actually fine as point to point encryption.

  34. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Think of the children?

    In no implied order of importance do the following.

    1. Forbid children taking smart phones and similar devices equipped with cameras into schools. Permit simple voice only telephony devices.

    2. Persuade parents to allow access to devices equipped with cameras and microphones only in the communal living room.

    3. Inform parents of dangers emanating from setting up Internet connected security cameras in bedrooms and playrooms.

    4. Greater emphasis on personal security (Internet and generally) within school curricula. Explain why sharing intimate images can lead to distress and worse, even with close friends.

    5. Rejig for the Internet era the long standing advice given to children not to talk to casual strangers. Reiterate this frequently.

    6. Police and other agencies to move away from the relatively simple low hanging fruit concerning circulation of illicit images and concentrate effort upon tracing original creators of images and persons using the Internet to entrap children into physical sexual contact. To facilitate this, brownie points distributed to police forces and groups of officers should be weighted heavily to rewarding successful investigations into tracing core offenders; there being analogy with the near futility of cracking down on illegal drug users rather than key importers, manufacturers, and distribution networks.

    7. Imbue the public with understanding that a totally risk free environment with regard to almost all hazards in life is unattainable and of necessity for protective resources to be prioritised according the benefit offered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Think of the children?

      "1. Forbid children taking smart phones and similar devices equipped with cameras into schools. Permit simple voice only telephony devices."

      But the kids are more tech-savvy than the grown-ups. They can make it look like a voice-only phone when it really isn't after a magic knock or the like.

      "2. Persuade parents to allow access to devices equipped with cameras and microphones only in the communal living room."

      Until it's found that that alone is dangerous for miscreants trying to case a place.

      "3. Inform parents of dangers emanating from setting up Internet connected security cameras in bedrooms and playrooms."

      And if they can't learn?

      "4. Greater emphasis on personal security (Internet and generally) within school curricula. Explain why sharing intimate images can lead to distress and worse, even with close friends."

      See #3 combined with peer pressure.

      "5. Rejig for the Internet era the long standing advice given to children not to talk to casual strangers. Reiterate this frequently."

      And if they reply, "But he's not a stranger."?

      "6. Police and other agencies to move away from the relatively simple low hanging fruit concerning circulation of illicit images and concentrate effort upon tracing original creators of images and persons using the Internet to entrap children into physical sexual contact."

      Trouble is, many of the savvier ones hide behind hostile sovereignty.

      "7. Imbue the public with understanding that a totally risk free environment with regard to almost all hazards in life is unattainable and of necessity for protective resources to be prioritised according the benefit offered."

      Again, see #3, especially if anyone taking that stance loses the next election...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Think of the children?

        "But the kids are more tech-savvy than the grown-ups. They can make it look like a voice-only phone when it really isn't after a magic knock or the like."

        If you think you can make SWMBO's ancient non-smart Nokia that totally lacks a camera into a camera phone you're welcome to try.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Think of the children?

          "If you think you can make SWMBO's ancient non-smart Nokia that totally lacks a camera into a camera phone you're welcome to try."

          I would be interested to hear of someone doing just that: making a smartphone that can pose as an old feature phone. The novelty alone would probably motivate some one-offs.

  35. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Classic misdirection

    Sexual abuse of children has been going on for thousands of years and perpetrators have relied on something far stronger than end-to-end encryption for protection: fear, guilt and shame. Encryption might help some of them share pictures and videos but again, this was something they tended to manage fine before the internet. But focussing on the technology deliberately misses the point: the abuse is generally carried out within families or by people of trust. And if that's not evil enough, many institutions have deliberately colluded to prevent any kind of investigation let alone justice.

  36. gnasher729 Silver badge

    I wouldn't usually mention product names, but there is a VPN aptly named "Hide My Ass".

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retweet this, Barnado's!

    Proverbs 26:11

  38. nijam Silver badge

    Let's have a trial run.

    Say, just roll out the e2e ban for all MPs (obviously) and all employees and contractors of: GCHQ, Revenue and Customs, and the police.

    It should work well - none of them should have anything at all to hide.

  39. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    Does anyybody listen to them?

    Teh government

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