back to article The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

Around the world, a vital technology is failing. Just as massive solar flares fry satellites and climate-change superstorms overwhelm flood defences, so a new surge of ridiculous IT-related events is burning out irony meters across the globe. Let's start with a couple of plums from the US, where – hold onto your peaked caps – …

  1. John H Woods Silver badge

    If they cared about children...

    ... they would reduce poverty and improve social care.

    BTW, I read in the current Private Eye that a visitor to Westminster had his copy of the same confiscated, and only returned when he left. This is where we seem to be going as a society. Not sure what it will take for the electorate to wake up a bit.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: If they cared about children...

      I saw a cartoon last week, regarding the failing immigration system the Tories are hell bent on diverting away from their ineptitude, and it had a person on it saying "We must stop immigration and start looking after our own".

      In the next frame, a child asks him "Please help, I'm starving" - to which he tells the child "Fuck off".

      And here we are, the UK in 2023. If the news isn't wolfwhistling the knuckle draggers and distracting the rest of us from what matters, it's not news. Or something to be cared about.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Big Brother

        One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

        Of course this law won't be applied to the tory party themselves - there will be exemptions for national security matters, policing, official secrets, yadda yadda.. But it will be used against everyone else, especially pesky journalists..

        Some ex-footballer with an unusually high-functioning brain for the profession decides to criticise the government off-air, this should not have been news (the criticism was well-deserved, if poorly delivered). The news was that he was shut down for it.. Yet the government-appointed Director General (whom is himself subject to criticism for facilitating an £800k loan to Boris Johnson before his appointment...) refuses to comment on whether Lineker would have received the same treatment if he had praised the government... Of course he wouldn't. As the 'i' paper points out this morning, Tory Peer Karen Brady doesn't get told off by the Beeb for having her Sun column while starring on The Apprentice.. The Beeb is supposed to be impartial, yet the government expects it to act as its state broadcaster. You won't find the real reason for ditching the European Court of Human Rights explained on the BBC under their current directorship.

        And yeah, the 'i' article also explains how this farce is being used by the knuckle-dragging right. So that particular incident (leaning on the BBC to shut down a commentator) could have been a deliberate attempt to distract the public away from its plans to restrict their freedoms, whilst at the same time doing further damage to the BBC. Two birds with one stone.

        Just as Mr Orwell foresaw, there are different rules for the Party, the Inner Party and the Proles. We criticise China for their freedom-crushing authoritarianism, yet we are implementing the same policies here. The state will control what passes for truth or misinformation.. Denying people a free life based on race is absolutely nothing like what was being discussed in pre-ww2 Germany, and intercepting all communications and outlawing encryption is absolutely nothing like the 1960s Stasi.. right?

        It really is nothing to do with Thinking of the Children, it's all about cementing power by controlling truth and cracking down on dissent. Keeping those rich and powerful in power and riches. That's pretty much big-C Conservatism in a nutshell, right? Fiefdom for us, serfdom for you.

        I am reminded of when I was trying to look up whether hereditary lords and barons pay any inheritance tax on their "substantial landed estates". (the rest of us pay about 50% and I can't imagine Lord Muck paying that much on his stately pile...) so I first went to this page and eventually ended up here, only to be told "(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)". WTF? Even the tax manual has sections redacted for the landed gentry, it seems?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

          On Politics Live today, there was a Tory MP foaming at the mouth complaining that Lineker should be sacked, he is paid £1.4m (panel guest said he was being envious - chuckle) and the frothing Tory MP then said his constituents were paying in part Linekers wages.

          The hypocrisy/irony was completely lost on the frothing Tory MP, where they obtained 43.6% of the votes and have an 80 seat majority (reduced by some now) and the other 56.4% of the population were paying fro the Tory MPs in part.

          This is about control, and as you have indicated, the Tories want to remain in power at all costs, hence the politics of division.

          For the encryption, once it has been explained slowly to them, they should back down.

          But then, we do have an election coming up, and maybe extreme politics will be used to call dissenters the usual left wing, unpatriotic blob.

          Maybe the house of lords will add a caveat that if the backdoor encryption is implemented, that any money lost due to this is reimbursed with additional compensation too.

          From this, we can see that the Tory party is a mess, and full of cretins, so it will be a case of just see how it plays out.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            "From this, we can see that the Tory party is a mess, and full of cretins,"

            Sorry mate, but this applies to all parties in the UK today. No one is willing to address BREXIT and the damage it is doing to the nation.

            1. Fonant

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              Lib Dems, and Greens?

              1. BebopWeBop

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                The SNP as well - and they have more MPs than both the others put together.

              2. AlbertH
                Mushroom

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                Cretins also. The whole political establishment is the modern equivalent of the Victorian family idiot being sent to be ordained into the church: The family idiots are usually dispatched to third class redbrick "universities" (former Polytechnics), where they're indoctrinated with various amounts of left-wing nonsense whilst doing their worthless "history", "sociology" or "media" "degrees", then they're consigned to the various political parties, and we all have to suffer their stupidities. The whole "political class" are dangerously clueless fools.

                1. Mooseman Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "The family idiots are usually dispatched to third class redbrick "universities" (former Polytechnics), where they're indoctrinated with various amounts of left-wing nonsense whilst doing their worthless "history", "sociology" or "media" "degrees" "

                  Wow, so much nonsense in one post. Congrats.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            You're carefully ignoring the fact that when Jack Straw was home secretary, in Blair's Labour government, he also agreed with EU ministers that the police and similar authorities should have access to all encrypted communications (despite a manifesto commitment against this) and so he brought in the RIPA legislation. Politicians just want control, no matter what their political stripe.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              I tried to keep it to the present about the new law.

            2. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Holmes

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              Correct. This madness started with Blair, Jack Straw, Jacqui Smith, ID Cards and RIPA. (although arguably it goes all the way back to Michael Howard..) The Tories are continuing the madness because it suits them. It's helping them push through plain-nasty policies that nobody in their right mind would vote for.

              The Lib-Dems are slightly more pro-freedom and less power-obsessed than the rest, but then again they have never had any power recently. Except that once, when they allowed themselves and the country to be utterly shafted by the Tories. In hindsight obviously, they should have let it be a hung parliament.

              I'm not sure about the part blaming the EU for it though. Citation on that, please.

              1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
                Trollface

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                It is always because of the EU, and has been so since 1972.

                1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "It is always because of the EU, and has been so since 1972" Thank you Mr ERG Troll.

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    Whoosh

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                I'm not sure about the part blaming the EU for it though. Citation on that, please.

                Not blaming the EU, just pointing out that they were in agreement, as this article from the BBC shows:

                European Union Justice and Home Affairs ministers have been holding a two-day conference in Birmingham to discuss co-operation to combat cyber-crimes. The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is using Britain's six-month EU presidency to raise awareness of the task facing law enforcement agencies on the Internet. The ministers agreed on Thursday that such agencies must have access to the codes used to scramble information.

                1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                  Devil

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  Right. So it was "our idea" then. That seems to be the case for a lot of the "red tape", etc. that the Brexit types blame the EU for... If you look into it, it was the UK which was the source of the red tape in the first place..

                  BTW, what a blast from the past! Fancy the BBC posting an article from one Andrew Orlowski. That's a name I haven't heard in far too long..

                2. martinusher Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  Note the obsolete thinking, even for back then. Back during WW2 there's be a box called a 'scrambler' that you could attach to a phone to render a conversation unintelligible. An identical box would be used on the other end of the call. so obviously Internet encryption works the same way. So all the government is asking for is the blueprints of the scrambler boxes. What's the harm in that?

                  Trying to explain that "its not like that" falls on deaf ears. It fell on them 30 or more years ago, it falls on them now. Its just a Public School classics education doesn't give you the technical smarts to understand this sort of thing.

                  1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    They can have those blueprints.

                    They're public. Download a copy of OpenSSL etc, have fun making one. It's a but fiddly to put together, but plenty of people will help.

                    Same goes for everyone else.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      The US government will provide the majority of the blueprints for free, much easier than reverse engineering the openssl code.

                      https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/fips/nist.fips.197.pdf and their relatives

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    Some of us who went to public schools studied maths and physics, not necessarily classics. We learned not to go into politics...

                    1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      "Some of us who went to public schools studied maths and physics". Obviously not one favoured by the self appointed ruling class.

                    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      Some of us who went to public schools studied maths and physics, not necessarily classics. We learned not to go into politics...

                      Well, anyone who actually paid attention to the classics would learn the same.

                      I think the problem is some people learned, and others preferred not to.

                      1. Mooseman Silver badge

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        " maths and physics, not necessarily classics. We learned not to go into politics."

                        That only seems to apply in Britain - many EU poiticians are actually qualified in the departments they run. Imagine an education department being run by a teacher? Although your thinking falls down a little when you remember that Thatcher was a chemistry graduate.

                    3. oresme

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      Indeed. And many of us left-wingers learned not to go into politics by observing the behaviour of the politicians on our own side.

                  3. yoganmahew

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    " Its just a Public School classics education doesn't give you the technical smarts to understand this sort of thing."

                    Well, a Public School education doesn't equip you for accepting you are wrong and cannot be right about a subject with a wrong/right answer. It's not about understanding, it's about the willingness to understand when it could change your view on the subject. The whole denigration of expertise is based on this "don't tell me what will change my mind".

                    1. Mooseman Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      "a Public School education doesn't equip you for accepting you are wrong"

                      No, you're confusing a very small subset of "public school" with everything else. A decent school, whether private or state run, teaches you that you are always learning. A good public school teaches responsibility and awareness of your good fortune in going to said school. Then there is Eton, which has the misfortune to have produced the majority of our leaders for decades, many of whom have the swaggering self confidence that comes of being brought up by parents to believe in us and them.

                      1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        No, you're confusing minor public schools, which are little different from state schools, with the real public schools. Also, many parents who pay for minor public schools abhor facts - my sister was one such.

                        1. Mooseman Silver badge

                          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                          "you're confusing minor public schools, which are little different from state schools, with the real public schools."

                          Do tell - what's a "real" public school? Eton, Harrow, Rugby maybe? There are plenty of others that produce generally well rounded and well educated people that you might dismiss as "minor" but that's your issue not theirs. Your inverse snobbery lazily lumps together anyone who didnt go to a state school as some kind of entitled rich kid who cannot possible have any views other than hard right tory. It's amazing how wrong you can be. Take for example a man who was educated at Westminster school (maybe thats a minor school, fees for 13+ entry are currently ony at £31,464 per year...) and inherited his father's title. Raging right wing, fact-denying tory, right? See if you can work out who I'm talking about....

                    2. gandalfcn Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      ""don't tell me what will change my mind"." Which applies to most right wing establishments and beliefs.

                      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        Which applies to most right wing establishments and beliefs.

                        It applies to most extremist establishments & beliefs, right and left.

                      2. MrReynolds2U

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        I come across a lot of people who are set in their beliefs and won't listen to an alternative argument. I don't think any particular part of the political spectrum evades this. Perhaps it's just when we see people with vastly differing views, we're more aware of it. People in general are stuck and the echo chambers we chose only make that more prevalent.

                        It happens to us all to a certain extent. We just need to keep learning and challenging both others and ourselves.

                        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                          "I come across a lot of people who are set in their beliefs and won't listen to an alternative argument."

                          Many 'alternative arguments' have been floated many times before so if the person you are trying to convince is older, they may have heard that one before; pull the other one. Some things, especially politics can come down to opinion, so a person's experience will be a stronger influence than whatever argument you are trying to put over. Don't beat your head against stone wall.

                          I'm wrong often enough to know I'm not perfect, but I also don't oscillate back and forth because the news presenter has a pretty smile. The stronger my opinion or knowledge, the better organized your argument has to be. Good debating skills aren't taught in school that much anymore and that's a bad thing. Some basic psychology in school would not go amiss either. I find learning about variations on classic cons fun to learn.

                  4. Dr Dan Holdsworth
                    Boffin

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    A one-time pad whereby one character is randomly swapped for another and where the "pad", the plan of which character to swap for which, is used only the once is impossible to break without the pad. One-time pads have been around as an encryption method since 1882.

                    This means that the concept of communications which are impossible to eavesdrop on have been around for well over a century. A one-time pad conversation could even be conducted by publicly displaying the cipher text on billboards in a city, indeed this would actually make the conversation more difficult to detect since the metadata of who was talking to whom could not be discerned.

                    Any law which tries to outlaw secret communication is therefore doomed to fail. All that modern encryption methods and modern communications devices do is make it easier to communicate secretly.

                    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      "One-time pads have been around as an encryption method since 1882."

                      As has been the problem of securely distributing them.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        and randomly creating them. You need a truly random event to generate the pad and many so called one time pad systems have been broken because someone was able to workout how the keypads were created.

                        1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                          Yes, and it's particularly easy when someone makes the mistake of using something like a book, to make the distribution problem easier. Hint: books in English contain a lot of E's - so start by adding or subtracting 5 from each letter in the message and see what it looks like. Although there are even stronger tools when you look at the combinations and sequences of letters found in books.

                          It's never trivial, but OTP communications have been broken when pads are chosen poorly and codebreaking resources have been invested.

                        2. AlbertH

                          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                          ... Then they're not "One Time" Pads at all. A real "one time pad" is non-repeating.....

                          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                            Not quite. There are two, separate, issues with using one-time pads correctly.

                            1) They must be used one-time only. If two messages are encrypted using the same OTP then you are completely lost. Just subtract one message from the other and the pad has been removed completely! You now have a text which is message A minus message B. Which is much easier to decrypt.

                            2) The pad must be random. If there are any biases in the pad (like using a book, or even just readable text) the codebreaker can make use of those biases.

                            These two mean that the distribution problem is really hard (you can't disguise the pad as something else, like a letter) and it is massive (you need hundreds of pads so you can keep communicating with several people).

                3. gandalfcn Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "Jack Straw, is using Britain's six-month EU presidency to raise awareness of the task facing law enforcement agencies on the Internet. " So it was the UK then. OK.

              3. gandalfcn Silver badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                "I'm not sure about the part blaming the EU for it though" Some people blame the EU for everything!

            3. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              Think you're back to front in this, RIPA was in 2000, the WTC attack was in 2001, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive was in 2002, and the UK got a wrist slap for some aspects of RIPA by the ECHR.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                Not really, RIPA was enacted in 2000, but it came out of a white paper published by Straw in 1999 (not 1998 as I previously said).

                1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  But I still can't find anything that says that RIPA is legislation based on an EU directive.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    But I still can't find anything that says that RIPA is legislation based on an EU directive.

                    Nobody said it was, all that was said is that during the discussions that led to RIPA in the UK, EU ministers agreed that law enforcement should have access to encrypted communications. That's the issue under discussion.

                    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      I can't find a source earlier than 2005 for something like what you suggest. Perhaps you can?

                    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      More particularly, the reply mentioning the EU was talking about EU-policy-laundering. No one believes we did it because the EU told us to, but every government was always happy to blame the EU for their most stupid, unpopular and controversial policies - because not even journalists bothered to check such claims.

                      1. Mooseman Silver badge

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        "not even journalists bothered to check such claims"

                        Some "journalists" were happily making up similar nonsense. Boris Johnson, for example.

              2. TheInstigator Bronze badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                It's ok - Cruella will get us out (if not already) the ECHR - given habeas corpus was brought in essentially due to a miscount/joke, that'll be next on the repeal list - and while we're at it why don't we withdraw from the International Court of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention too ....

                The sad thing is that there are people who actually would agree to all this - which just goes to prove - those who want to be in power should not be given the privilege

                1. gandalfcn Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "The sad thing is that there are people who actually would agree to all this " Indeed, they're called Tories - the ones Lineker exposed for what they are.

            4. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              I can't remember the last time we had a Home Secretary who wasn't a rabid authoritarian. The only observation I can really make here is that each one is so much progressively worse than their predecessor that we find ourselves hankering after the bad old days. The likes of Blunkett and Straw were awful authoritarians who wanted to spy on everyone and make everyone carry an "entitlement card," but the current crop make them look like saints.

              1. Aladdin Sane

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                Every time a new home secretary is appointed, they're led by senior civil servants into a dark room where they're shown the entirety of their and their family's browsing history*. There's something about that department that turns them into swivel eyed loons.

                *Idea ripped off from Bill Hicks.

              2. Not Yb Bronze badge
                Coat

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                These CCTV cameras are just a pilot program.

              3. Graham Cobb Silver badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                I think the last one might have been Ken Clarke. Isn't there a story that when he was appointed the GCHQ people took him into a secret briefing and told him about all the bad things that were happening in the world and the powers they needed for surveillance and codebreaking to deal with them. He was supposed to have torn up their request and said no. Then they all had a glass of sherry and the spooks said "well, we had to try, didn't we".

                Personally, I blame Blunkett. As a blind man, unfortunately very dependent on many state-supplied services, he was very comfortable with a paternalistic state and happy to increase their power. I am sure he genuinely thought it was the right thing to do. Of course, I am sure he was wrong but it has proved impossible for any subsequent Home Secretary to turn any of those powers back.

            5. Ian Johnston Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              Remember how keen Jack Straw was to let General Pinochet get away with - literally - murder? The trouble is that there is a particular and widespread political mindset which sees new laws as the answer to everything.

              We get a lot of that in Scotland, because the delusion is very powerful in the SNP.

            6. TheInstigator Bronze badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              It has been proven in court that manifestos are not legal documents - parties can not be held legally accountable if they do not deliver on promises made in their manifesto.

              So - for example - they could put in their manifesto they will make all energy free, get rid of tax etc - not deliver on it - and there's sod all you can do about it - you're welcome

              1. moonhaus

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                "not deliver on it - and there's sod all you can do about it - you're welcome"

                Yes you can. If a party were to lie about their major policies, they could and should be voted out of office at the next election and never trusted with power again.

                1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  >>should be voted out of office at the next election and never trusted with power again.

                  and yet here we are....

                  No matter who you vote for the govenment always get in!

                2. jmch Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  " If a party were to lie about their major policies, they could and should be voted out of office at the next election and never trusted with power again."

                  Nice, in theory. In practice they all either outright lie, or are hopelessly optimistic about what they can deliver. Part of the voters' job is to make a judgement on how trustworthy the party is in its manifesto claims, and how likely it is to deliver what's in the manifesto (or what unspoken compromises must be made in order to deliver what is being promised)

                3. JulieM Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  The problem is, there are enough people who believe every word they read in the "Sun" and "Daily Mail" to force any election result their editors desire.

                  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    Interesting how the losers always find excuses which boil down to "it wasn't our fault, we are still right".

                4. ScottishYorkshireMan

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  But what happens if a party introduces a bill that allows them to prevent certain people from voting, under the guise of reducing voter fraud (which TMK has never actually occurred). Using a system that they themselves could use to give them majorities in any constituency they desire? Yes, by giving out Voter Authority Certificates to their drones, said drones can go vote in other constituencies. I guess the Tory mantra is, if you can't win, CHEAT!.

                  1. Mooseman Silver badge

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    "educing voter fraud (which TMK has never actually occurred)"

                    Which we are now seeing in the ID proof required in local elections (and presumably in the next GE). The excuse is countering voter fraud, which has occurred - in the 2019 GE there were 4 (four) actual cases. Out of a possible voting population of 47,074,800, which makes the fraud percentage 0.00000008 %

                    Clearly this is a MAJOR issue and necessitates extra expense and hassle.

                    Or is it simply to deter people who are less likely to vote in the first place, usually the poor?

                    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      "Which we are now seeing in the ID proof required in local elections (and presumably in the next GE). The excuse is countering voter fraud, which has occurred - in the 2019 GE there were 4 (four) actual cases."

                      It's very embarrassing to politicians to find voter fraud since they have been adamant about stating there is none. The best way to not have those statements backfire is to not look for any fraud in the first place or only do a very superficial job of it so only a couple of cases are found. Face is saved and the suspicion is quashed.

                      It's not just that elections are honest, but more important that they are seen as being honest. If there is video of a counting facility where the regular staff leave for the night and a while later a couple of people re-enter the room, pull unknown boxes from under a table and start doing what looks like counting ballots, that's a huge problem. If a count is showing an election is tending towards one candidate and then there is a surprise discovery of ballots that send the count towards the other main candidate, that's a problem. The electronic voting machines are a huge mess to begin with and there is no need for them in the first place. I had a friend that worked for one of the companies writing code and he could rattle off over a dozen ways to compromise the machines and data without having to think too hard about it. He knew better than to say anything as those holes were part of the spec.

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      Just for your info - just slightly over 64% of "votes" cast in the last Mayoral election in London were bogus (according to the Police Unit investigating the Fraud). Plenty of "real" votes were "lost" on their way to the counts. It's undoubtedly the worst election fraud ever in the UK, even if the numbers are slight exaggerated.

                      1. Mooseman Silver badge

                        Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                        "just slightly over 64% of "votes" cast in the last Mayoral election in London were bogus "

                        Really? Citation please. I've looked and looked and can find no evidence that supports that claim, or even a mention of those numbers.

                        The electoral commission site states "315 cases of alleged electoral fraud were investigated by the police during 2021. None of these cases led to a conviction. Police issued cautions in one case."

                        7 cases of suspected fraud were reported by the police to the electoral commission in the London mayor election.

                        So, somebody is talking bullshit.....

                  2. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                    reducing voter fraud (which TMK has never actually occurred

                    Except in N. Ireland ("vote early, vote often"), where a remarkable number of dead people used to vote. Electoral reform in 2002 introduced voter ID, among other things. They're estimated to have removed 100,000 false registrations from the electoral roll, and not had any significant effect on whether people vote or not.

                    1. Mooseman Silver badge

                      Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                      "Except in N. Ireland"

                      Sadly NI isnt a shining example of political stability or common sense. The figures for the 2019 election still stand, at least for the rest of the UK.

                5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "and never trusted with power again"

                  You'd soon run out of candidates.

                  The only realistic manifesto would be "We'll sit tight and do our best to cope with events." because coping with events is what a government has to do. The last thing they need is to create even more events for themselves. As trying to do things ends up having unintended consequences which cause events sitting tight is the right thing to do when not occupied coping.

                  But (a) it's unlikely that the public would vote for that because most of the public each have some personal thing they want a government to do, (b) if the public did catch on that it was the right manifesto to vote for all parties would adopt it and (c) every party, particularly its Dunning-Kruger wing, has something it wants to do.

                  I started off forming a political law that any sufficiently large political party would acquire a Dunning-Kruger wing. I quickly realised that that did not match reality and eventually decided that any sufficiently large political party might, just possibly, acquire a non-Dunning Kruger wing).

                6. thosrtanner

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  which would be 5 years too late

            7. gandalfcn Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              Jack Straw was an honest person when he was younger. I don;t know what corrupted him. Was it power?

              1. Not Yb Bronze badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                I suspect it's just that people started to notice.

          3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            AC: "For the encryption, once it has been explained slowly to them, they should back down."

            You have far more faith in the abilities of our Honourable and Right Honourable members to understand technical things like encryption than I do. I am sure that some of them would understand the current encryption technologies (the late Roy Jenkins, former Home Secretary did, after all, work at Bletchley Park during WW2), but how many MPs have A-Levels or degrees in science or technology compared to those with PPE Classics, History or Law? (Note there are clever people with those sorts of degrees, I am referring exclusively to our MPs.)

            1. cyberdemon Silver badge
              Alert

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              No WhatsApp, Signal, or Telegram.

              Your private conversations will be intercepted not just by the News of the World and the Telegraph, but even the Guardian will be able to read them

              1. TimMaher Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Grauniad

                But you will have to spell the message badly.

            2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              It's hard to explain things slowly and carefully to someone who is screaming their head off at you and telling you to "just make it work". Sadly, I think our current government has more than one of that type.

              Speaking of which, whatever is going on with those many, many allegations of bullying from Dominic Raab?

              1. Richard 12 Silver badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                They're trying to find or manufacture a day to bury them.

              2. AlbertH

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                Speaking of which, whatever is going on with those many, many allegations of bullying from Dominic Raab?

                They've been shown to be malicious fabrications - a fiction created by some BBC "producer".

                1. Mooseman Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  "They've been shown to be malicious fabrications - a fiction created by some BBC "producer"."

                  Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, ha ha ha,ha ha, ha h...oh you were serious? Bet you feel bloody silly now.

            3. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              "Note there are clever people with those sorts of degrees,"

              I'm skeptical, could you give some examples (living)?

          4. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            I had to explain to my Mum that end to end encryption underpins a lot of the modern world. So why don’t they include these back doors all the politicos talk about then. Well because if you do that and someone discovers this back door and works out how to open it, you’re screwed. So online shopping and banking would be totally impossible without E2E. WhatsApp (and Signal) both use it too etc. She sort of now accepts that we can’t ditch it nor backdoor it.

            1. genghis_uk

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              So Mrs Smith gets it after a simple explanation but our illustrious leaders cannot grasp the concept after many experts have tried the same.

              What does that tell us about the idiots in power??

              Do you think our Home Sociopath really cares about the children or is it an authoritarian ploy wrapped in Daily Mail fodder to distract the masses?

              1. ScottishYorkshireMan

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                This says a lot about the idiots in power, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nadine-dorries-microsoft-algorithm-twitter_uk_62331aaee4b0d39357c37f9c

                The concern should be with those who put those idiots in power. Go on, mark me down, think I care?

          5. Bebu Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            "From this, we can see that the Tory party is a mess, and full of cretins, so it will be a case of just see how it plays out."

            When Boris was in charge of whole shambles I thought, based on an analogy with the "F Troop" series it was a case of a second rate chief in charge of a tribe of third rate Indians. Although I suspect Capt Parmenter would still have an edge over Boris.

            Anyway with Boris tasked with being Minister most likely to be blown to bits in UA it looks like the UK is left with the third raters.

            Even a Corben labour government looks a better option even if you were up against his "Comité de salut public."

          6. gandalfcn Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            "Tory MP foaming at the mouth complaining that Lineker should be sacked"

            For the simple reason that Lineker correctly pointed out that the present Tory government is comprised of fascists and they don't like being outed for what they are, just like their MAGA counterparts.

            "the Tories want to remain in power at all costs," Indeed, and they believe that promoting fascism will achieve this, because it worked with the Farage Gammon.

          7. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            Literally the meaning of privilege: Private Law.

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              "privilege: Private Law."

              Commander Vimes, is that you?

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

          Yet the government-appointed Director General (whom is himself subject to criticism for facilitating an £800k loan to Boris Johnson before his appointment...)

          One for the libel lawyers there! I think you’ll find that you are referring to the Chairman who is a different bloke from Tim Davie the actual Director General.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            Quite. Tim Davie is the one who donated £0.4M to the Conservative party. Completely impartially, of course.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              “ Quite. Tim Davie is the one who donated £0.4M to the Conservative party. Completely impartially, of course. “

              Think that was Richard Sharp the Chairman too…..unless the other bloke coincidentally did too.

              https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/read-this/new-bbc-chairman-richard-sharp-has-donated-ps400k-to-the-conservative-party-since-2001-3088420

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                You are, of course, correct. The google results there for his name conveniently put an ellipsis in there and then the bit about someone completely different (Richard Sharp) donating to the Tory party.

                There's a lesson there to be learned about not trusting the google results and actually following the link (and also finding multiple unrelated sources for confirmation.)

                For the record, from the article in question (which is from that horrible bastion of lefty blobs, the Grauniad), "[Tim Davie] was deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative party in the 1990s and stood unsuccessfully as a councillor in 1993 and 1994."

                1. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

                  Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                  Upvote for the Grauniad - haven't heard it called that in a long time! Do they still hold the record for the number of misprints in one column?

                  1. TimMaher Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Grauniad

                    I recommend a subscription to Lord Gnome’s great organ...”Private Eye”.

          2. suferick

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            Is that the same Tim Davie who once stood in local elections as a Conservative candidate?

          3. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Angel

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            Ah, forgive me for getting my Tory chairmen and Tory directors general mixed up.

          4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            "you are referring to the Chairman who is a different bloke from Tim Davie the actual Director General"

            It's easy to get confused. Are these actually different jobs? Or actually jobs?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

          Cyberdaemon: I am reminded of when I was trying to look up whether hereditary lords and barons pay any inheritance tax on their "substantial landed estates".

          Yes, they do pay - it is how the National Trust etc. received many of their properties in lieu of death taxes in all their forms.

          And I was caught by Gordon Brown bringing in the first and only retrospective change to inheritance tax via trust fund rule changes. Cost me about £100K. I will never vote for Labour because of this. I usually spoil my vote as there is no chance of any change of political colour in my area :-(

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            > Yes, they do pay [...] Cost me about £100K.

            Then have an upvote and a (sadly virtual) beer from me, your anonymous Reg-reading Lordship. :)

            However I fear that many of your less honest "peers" will have avoided their duties with offshore companies and suchlike. Otherwise surely there would be more transparency from them. It would be interesting if you could shed any light on the redacted sections of the aforementioned tax manual.

            p.s. If you were otherwise going to spoil your vote, why not put one in for one of the minor parties that you may actually believe in? The Lib Dems, for example, are currently damned by the self-fulfilling prophecy that they will never win an election. Yet I think if the people who agreed with them actually voted for them, they may be in with a decent chance this time around.

            1. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

              I take it you mean things like this

              https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/11/inheritance-tax-why-the-new-duke-of-westminster-will-not-pay-billions

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                Yeah exactly.

                I also mean things like where the stately pile + manor is actually owned by the Crown Estates, and the Lord and Lady of the manor, due to their favour with the Crown, pay only a 'Peppercorn' ground-rent for the place on a 999-year lease, and may or may not be able to sub-lease portions of it to other people for money or political favour.

              2. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

                "I take it you mean things like this"

                Or the Duke or Marlborugh, who pays no tax at all but still receives farm subsidies ...

          2. AlbertH
            Flame

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            I was caught by Gordon Brown bringing in the first and only retrospective change to inheritance tax via trust fund rule changes. Cost me about £100K.

            Gordon McDoom cost me rather more than that, stolen from my pension savings!

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. unimaginative
          Unhappy

          Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

          Row about said footballer also demonstrates the problem with debatong things like like this. Both sides of the partisan divide decided it would serve them best to ignore the ral problem: thecomparison with thw Nazi's, trivialising wht they did.

          You can see the same with commentards here blaming the torries, when labour have promised to make it even worse: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/jan/01/labour-pledges-toughen-online-safety-bill

          IMO the best solution is to join any party and campaigin for sense within the party

          1. Not Yb Bronze badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            Fairly sure you'd be quickly tossed out of the US Republican party with this "campaign for sense" idea.

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: One rule for them, another for the rest of us.

            " the ral problem: thecomparison with thw Nazi's, trivialising wht they did."

            No, that's not the real problem at all - nowhere did Lineker trivialise the actions of the nazis. He made a point about comparing the language used by Braverman and that of the nazis in the early 1930s, that's all. And, sadly, he was completely correct.

      2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: If they cared about children...

        If only they spent so much money and effort on processing the asylum claims.

        The strategy to dither and delay is really to make money for companies contracted to house refugees needlessly long.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: If they cared about children...

          The "dither and delay" is the necessity to jump though ludicrous hoops to ensure that any refusal is as water-tight as water-tight.

          1. Fonant

            Re: If they cared about children...

            Which is Good, no? We wouldn't want to admit fake refugees to the country, and we wouldn't want to deport genuine ones. Well, not apart from the Tories, who want to make "being in need of help" illegal for refugees and UK citizens alike.

            1. sabroni Silver badge

              Re: We wouldn't want to admit fake refugees to the country

              During WWII, when the Nazis were killing thousands in gas chambers, how many genuine adult Jewish refugees did the UK admit?

              You hear the dog whistle and you start to bark.

              Wise up.

              1. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: We wouldn't want to admit fake refugees to the country

                "During WWII, when the Nazis were killing thousands in gas chambers, how many genuine adult Jewish refugees did the UK admit?"

                None at all, we were at war and nobody could escape from occupied Europe.

                You would have been better to ask how many jewish refugees we took before the war, or how come it took private individuals to force the British government to take child refugees?

                While you're at it, you could maybe explain what a "genuine" adult jewish refugee is? Bearing in mind that many of them were immediately incarcerated in internment camps I don't think we did terribly well.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Cut the backlog

            Let's set up machine-guns along the cliffs of Dover. Close the ghettos overflow camps/hotels and send them to the gas.. Oh hello Mr. Godwin.

            1. Mooseman Silver badge

              Re: Cut the backlog

              "Let's set up machine-guns along the cliffs of Dover. Close the ghettos overflow camps/hotels and send them to the gas.."

              I know you think you're being clever, but I have read exactly those sentiments from people in discussions about the RNLI rescuing people from the Channel. You don't think that should the British government lurch even further to the right there wouldnt be plenty who would volunteer to do exactly that?

          3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: If they cared about children...

            Bollocks.

            Sorry, I should watch my language, I should have said "what an absolute tub full of frothing festering misinformed bollocks."

            We have fewer asylum applications than we did ten years ago, but the rate of processing them has gone from around 96% to 4% in a year. It is a deliberate policy of the government to massively under-fund claims processing, and to house people who are awaiting their claims to be processed in poor housing or hotels, and then stoke up outrage about hotels being taken up by "illegals".

            The proportion of claims which are successful has not changed; the vast majority of them are still approved, which also puts the lie to the claim that the asylum claims are not legitimate.

            Claims that we take disproportionately more asylum seekers than other countries, or that people are "flooding here" are similarly false. If the world's asylum claimants were shared out equally amongst all safe countries, we would be taking 30 times as many to take our fair share, and to be absolutely clear here, that would not even be a bad thing, because people claiming asylum have been shown to contribute more to the economy of their adopted country than they cost.

            What is actually true, despite the fearmongering from our "esteemed" Home Secretary, is that the vast majority of people claiming asylum do so in the first safe country that they reach, and most people attempting to enter the UK are doing so because they already have some link to this country, which, in itself, indicates that they have something to offer us.

            1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

              Re: "We have fewer asylum applications than we did ten years ago"

              Nonsense. There's at least double the applicants (50,000 as against 20,000). And that was 2021, 2022's shaping up to be even more. (Govt., figures). Somewhat less than half are approved, on average.

              1. old_n_grey

                Re: "We have fewer asylum applications than we did ten years ago"

                " There's at least double the applicants" - true but if you look back twenty rather than ten years ...

                Government numbers, see https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2021/how-many-people-do-we-grant-asylum-or-protection-to, show that there were over 84,000 asylum applications in 2002. Looks like 2003 was also higher than 50,000 and 2004 around 50,000.

              2. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: "We have fewer asylum applications than we did ten years ago"

                n 2020, the UK received applications for asylum for 37,550 people (including dependants). This is around three times less than the number of applications received each by Germany (124,380), France (103,370) and Spain (108,225).

                Around 43 per cent of people seeking asylum in the UK in 2020 were women and children. Overall, eight per cent were children who had arrived in the UK alone without a parent or guardian.

                75% of initial decisions made in 2022 have been grants of protection, meaning they have been awarded refugee status or humanitarian protection.

                (British Red Cross figures)

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If they cared about children...

            Read up on International law. This bill will fail. They know that.

            1. CommanderGalaxian

              Re: If they cared about children...

              Presumably the logical conclusion of their mad plan is to withdraw from UN level international treaties now that they've withdrawn from treaties with the EU - since clearly it is always somebody else who is to blame for the UK's problems (foreigners in particular).

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: If they cared about children...

          Partly. But there's one thing they want more than helping their mates - and that's power at any cost.

          Mainly they are screwing up asylum processes to fan the flames of the right wing.

          As Lineker said, they are using rhetoric designed to enflame the situation, and dehumanise the victims.

          And when the law fails? They'll blame leftie ECHR lawyers, and use it as an excuse to leave the ECHR.

          It all plays to their fascist base. It also detracts from their corruption.... Have you heard much about partygate, Michelle Mone, the long forgotten Russian report, or other Tory scandals lately?

    2. Groo The Wanderer

      Re: If they cared about children...

      I know what you mean. Apparently the "Right to Life" ends after the unwanted child is born, then the "Pro-Life" types are out the door when it comes to child support, social services, housing, education, etc.

      1. matthewdjb

        Re: If they cared about children...

        Conversely the right to choose is the right to choose to have an abortion, because if you choose not to, there is no support from the pro choice movement.

        Actually it's all bollocks, because there are a very few on both sides who will offer to support women to keep their child.

        But hey, that would go against the rhetoric, wouldn't it?

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: If they cared about children...

          Go look at what charities like Planned Parenthood actually do. In many parts of the US, they provide more healthcare and support for women and babies than anyone else.

          In some places, they are the only gynaecological healthcare provider available to those without means to pay.

          Other than ER - and if it gets that far, it usually means the foetus is already dead and the mother is dying. The death rates among poor, mostly black communities are horrifying.

          Go look up the actual data.

        2. unimaginative
          Thumb Up

          Re: If they cared about children...

          that is probably true in the US. Here in the UK one of the best known prolife orgs does exactly that https://lifecharity.org.uk/

          In my own experience British prolifers tend to be lefty economically.

    3. TheInstigator Bronze badge

      Re: If they cared about children...

      I think a large part of the issue is that you really only have 2 choices now - none of the other parties can make a significant enough impact to change anything.

      Also - people rise to their level of incompetence - as Obama said - if it's taken someone so long to climb the greasy pole to power, why would you make it easy for someone else to get there? When you do get there you invariably become the same type of person that's been there before.

      I find this fascinating for many reasons - If I asked you to name 10 bad leaders of countries, I'm pretty sure you could name them very quockly - Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot etc - now if I asked you to name 10 great leaders I think you'd have a much harder time.

      That tells you a lot about humanity.

      1. Cxwf

        Re: If they cared about children...

        I suspect you could ask random people to name 10 great leaders, and most would get to at least 7 or 8 before they had to think really hard to continue.

        The bigger problem is that if you ask two random people to compare those lists, it’s very likely half of the members of the first person’s “good leader” list will be on the second person’s “bad leader” list. There’s a lot of disagreement on what exactly makes a great leader.

        1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

          Re: If they cared about children...

          Cxwf: There’s a lot of disagreement on what exactly makes a great leader.

          Indeed. In the west Gorbachev is often lauded as a great liberalising leader, but many current Russians see him as a weak leader who caved in to the West and destroyed Russia's empire. The 'great' leaders of antiquity, Peter the Great, Alfred the Great, Alexander the Great, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, etc. were often considered great due to basically winning battles and wars of conquest, instead of, say, building schools, hospitals and raising the poor out of poverty. Herod the Great was a different sort of leader, primarily greatness in building things, but has a claim to utter infamy.*

          * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great

          1. teebie

            Re: If they cared about children...

            Alfred the great did a lot of good in peacetime - at the time literacy rates in 'England' were terrible, he invited scholars from other parts of Europe, established a school to encourage reading, and had various works translated from latin to english.

    4. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: If they cared about children...

      Don’t forget education - pre, infant, primary, secondary, tertiary, research.

      … and all of the SureStart Centre’s force closed by Tory Ineptitude/Policy.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Holmes

    making it a crime to use strong encryption

    Give 'em time, give 'em time...

    1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

      Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

      Use of encryption was illegal in France until, I think, 1999. There is certainly precedent for this.

      1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

        Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

        UK too in the 90s I seem to remember - encryption algorithms >128bit were covered by US ITAR regs.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

          UK too in the 90s I seem to remember - encryption algorithms >128bit were covered by US ITAR regs.

          I think it was >40 bits(!), but only if you exported it. (And no export at all to "the bad guys", whoever the bad guys were defined as at the time.)

          1. cookieMonster Silver badge

            Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

            I bought the T-shirt

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

              For anyone wondering which t-shirt...

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_of_cryptography_from_the_United_States

          2. Altrux

            Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

            Anyone remember Fortify for Netscape? Those were the days!

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

          It's one of the reasons why Korea and Japan required Internet Explorer for internet banking because ActiveX was allowed to do 128-bit encryption.

        3. Eclectic Man Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

          The history of the legality and illegality of encryption in various countries is quite curious. In the Boy Scouts, I believe there used to be training in cryptography, but only relatively simple ciphers such as the Caesar and Vigenere ciphers. In the UK people have used codes and ciphers, apparently legally for centuries. The French did have a law about not sending encrypted messages across their borders.

          This caused a little amusement when one of the English language 'pirate' radio stations based in northern France broadcast advertisements for a bedtime drink (I think it was Ovaltine, but could have been Cocoa) with an encrypted message for the audience to decipher. The station got a visit from the gentlemen from 'La Deuxieme Bureau' asking what the message meant. It was shown to be 'remind your mother to buy more' of the product. Which was acceptable.

          It caused considerably more issues when working for commercial organisations which required genuinely secure communications between UK and French locations.

          Let's just remember that this 'trapdoor' (in)security is purely for the general public, not for HMG or anyone who actually 'matters.'

          1. suferick

            Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

            But HMG usually mandates the use of commercial software, not having the budget to develpp that sort of thing from scratch. I bet the legisltators in their "wisdom" haven't considered the necessity to beef up IT budgets for Government departments

          2. JulieM Silver badge

            Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

            If you use the Vigenère cipher but you make the key phrase as long as the plaintext, you effectively have a one-time pad (unless you re-use the key phrase).

            You can buy edible paper and pens with edible ink from a cake decorating supplier. You still need a source of equally-probable random letters to create your pad, and you still need a secure backchannel to exchange your pads.

            1. Not Yb Bronze badge
              Coat

              Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

              This method solves none of the key problems with one-time pads, and adds a new vulnerability. Perfect for government, clearly.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

        Not just encryption. When I worked on X.25 networking software (in France, as it happens) we ran into US laws that technically forbade the export of the software source code from the US because it was classed as a munition.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

          we ran into US laws that technically forbade the export of the software source code from the US because it was classed as a munition.

          Ditto. My UK company had encryption related code in its product(*), written in the UK, but our Latin American customers were supplied from our US office, so we had to get a licence to (re-)export our non-US code from the US.

          (*) For licensing and password protection, not encryption qua encryption, but still covered as "munitions".

        2. Blank Reg

          Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

          back in the 90s I worked for one of the big US tech companies. Being Canadian I was allowed to work on the encryption software while my European collegues weren't allowed to touch it

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

            Hopefully not in a Quebec Chinese Police station

      3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: Use of encryption was illegal in France

        Not quite. Encryption itself was not illegal, but strong encryption was.

        As such, the French version of Notes 3.x had 64-bit encryption enabled, but only used 40 bits effectively. The first 24 bits had been handed over to the French government, so that it could be easier for them to decrypt emails (because the French government only had itty bitty CPUs to decrypt stuff with and nobody actually knew how anyway).

        Thankfully, this nonsense fell out of fashion and, since R6, everyone is using full-fat 128 bit or better encryption.

        Check it out here.

    2. Jedit Silver badge
      Joke

      "Give 'em time, give 'em time..."

      That's the general idea, yes.

    3. TheSirFin

      Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

      20yrs for each of the Tory Cabinet sound about right? We can only hope.

    4. Fonant
      Facepalm

      Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

      Encryption = Maths + Computing.

      Looking forward to the Tories trying to make mathematics, and/or writing software, illegal :)

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

        Just ensure that the pleb doesn't know how to write and voilà! problem solved!

      2. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

        Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

        "Looking forward to the Tories trying to make mathematics, and/or writing software, illegal :)"

        They don't have to make it illegal, they just have to censor / dumb down what is taught in schools.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: making it a crime to use strong encryption

        They are attempting exactly that.

        Note that they have already banned large groups of people from meeting together - especially if they are wearing masks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crime? So Privacy Is A Crime? Please Give Me A Break.....

      @Neil_Barnes

      Quote: "...making it a crime to use strong encryption..."

      Probably true. But there are a few snags:

      (1) Recent legislation makes almost no provision for enforcement

      (2) Book burning has to become a thing:

      - Applied Cryptography, Steve Schneier

      - Cryptography Engineering, Ferguson/Schneier/Kohno

      - The Code Book, Simon Singh

      (3) Possession of various computer tools needs to be restricted or banned:

      - gcc or clang

      - Libraries like gmp

      - Python

      (4) Teaching in schools and universities needs to be restricted:

      - Design skills

      - Programming skills

      ....because, unless these additional restrictions are imposed on society, private citizens will still be able to implement private encryption.....

      ....even if large corporations are restricted in what they do with encryption (....you know, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram....)

      ....because private encryption can just as easily be transported by Gmail!!!!

      ....and messaging from internet cafes can be arranged to be pseudonymous, or even anonymous.....

      ....but I guess this last observation is moot (see item #1 above)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Having witnessed the CSAM triage process and backlog inside law enforcement agencies your point about resource does resonate somewhat.

    There is a wider issue though that this bill skirts around.

    To what extent should law enforcement have access to the (no-doubt rigorously applied) top-shelf tools and techniques used by intelligence agencies to manage their other priorities where encryption takes place?

    But unfortunately, given how prevalent this sort of abuse happens in the world we live in, could they make a meaningful impact at manageable cost?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It seems that law enforcement agents are too busy raping, abusing and gaslighting women to give a shit about what they should or shouldn't do, tbh. They will use these powers to evade investigation into their own abusive and corrupt behaviour.

      Around here they seem to enjoy persecuting thought-criminals (presumably because the idea of coming down hard on the softest of targets is a great source of excitement for thugs and bullies) while people who have been mugged/burgled/assaulted don't even get a same-day visit.

      The police is a job that pays so little for so much effort, only those who are corrupt or psychopathic have any reason to work there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yup. The link you missed

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-64915126

        Sound like the Police is a great place to be if you are racist, misogynistic and ‘like children’. Shoplyfter anyone ??

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    All "they" have to do is prove that it works. Come up with a proof of concept implementation. Use it themselves for a long enough period, say a couple of years, without getting hacked. Then introduce it into legislation. It's called "showing leadership" and if it's that simple and safe there should be no problem.

    1. Fonant

      Except that we already know that:

      • Secure encryption that has a backdoor is mathematically impossible.
      • Encryption techniques can't be "un-invented".
      • Well-encrypted data is indistinguishable from random noise.
      Making strong encryption illegal hurts people doing online banking, and makes criminal gangs laugh!

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        I believe that is the good Doctor's point, one that I've espoused frequently. If the law makers want to enact the impossible, even after actually knowledgable people have told them it's not possible, those law makers should pilot the systems before enforcing said crapolla on the citizenship. On their personal devices of course, we don't want them giving away state secrets now, do we (ahem).

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Giving away state secrets? when they can sell them?

        2. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Of course, but sadly you can't use logic against populism.

          Populist politicians don't actually care a jot if what they are saying is true or false, or if what they are proposing is possible or impossible. Or even if the laws they are making are implementable/enforceable. It's all just a psychological play to their supporters. See also: Brexit

          Bad laws allow corruption to thrive. Exactly what this particular bunch of politicians seem to want.

          All encryption is banned!! (But don't worry, we will never enforce that on our friends and benefactors..)

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Yes, I wonder if Fonant was puzzled by the whooshing sound.

          The critical point here is that if they think it's possible they should try to commission a proof of concept implementation that stands up to scrutiny. It's all very well their doing a lot of hand-waving but reality has to be faced.

          I've said here many times that if people think the innocent have nothing to hide they should publish their online banking, trading and other dreds and see how that works out.

  5. Roj Blake Silver badge

    I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

    ...just as long as all of Sunak's, Hunt's, and Braverman's comms are also unencrypted.

    After all, if they've done nothing wrong...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

      Their comms are only safe until someone Hancocks it up and gives a copy to a journalist.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

        We''re going to need a new dictionary to keep up: to Truss, to Hancock, to Raab (make a lot of noise but not really do anything)…

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

          There's also the all-purpose verb: to Boris.

          1. Jonathan Richards 1

            Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

            > verb: to Boris

            Conjugated as ' I defecate, you crap, he/she/it Boriseth

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

            Oh my Johnson!

            1. sgp

              Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

              We will cut off your Johnson, we're nihilists.

              1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                Re: I'm more than happy for my encryption to rendered useless...

                Where's Bunny, Lebowski?

  6. Ken Rennoldson

    Does this mean the browser?

    If it does mean the browser and HTTPS is blocked ('cos it's end to end amiright) then as a nation we are doomed.

    Frankly, it is equal to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does this mean the browser?

      feasibly Evil ET could wipe out the entire UK online shopping industry with this bill. IF they push to make all secure connections an issue. I wouldn't put it past this shower of shit to try to push for

      "we need to know what the evil people are buying from Amazon, in case they are buying cameras for pron"

      1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

        Re: Does this mean the browser?

        feasibly Evil ET could wipe out the entire UK online shopping industry with this bill. IF they push to make all secure connections an issue.

        I doubt it, since they can always capture the communications at the server side (compelling the service provider to cough up). The same would be true of DMs sent via a website, where the messages are only encrypted via TLS in transit but are visible to the server in the clear.

        It *could* be an issue with websites specifically set up for secure communication, e.g. Protonmail. However, services which are specifically set up to support criminal action can be taken down and already are. Clearly, no new powers are required for this.

        The issue here is specifically around end-to-end, i.e. pleb-to-pleb, messaging - where there's no power equivalent to a telephone "wiretap". However, all the metadata is already visible.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Does this mean the browser?

          "since they can always capture the communications at the server side (compelling the service provider to cough up)."

          The server side isn't the ISP, it's Amazon. Good luck "compelling a US company to give up its keys.

      2. Caver_Dave Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: wipe out the entire UK online shopping industry with this bill

        I've mentioned this to my MP a few times. I always get back the "think of the children" mail, where they send it out so often they don't even bother putting your name on it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does this mean the browser?

      No.

      That is not end to end encryption in the sense that no third parties have access to your data inside an End to End app like WhatsApp unlike browser stuff where the data can end up in the clear absolutely anywhere outside of the site you are visiting.

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        Re: Does this mean the browser?

        “No….”

        That is a fundamentally incorrect and uninformed statement

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Does this mean the browser?

          Maybe 'No' should be 'Maybe Not'

          A browser is an application I suppose, so could any browser to browser communications be in scope?

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Does this mean the browser?

        Sir, I admire your courage in using Whatsapp as an example of end-to-end encryption not allowing data to and up.

      3. Ken Rennoldson

        Re: Does this mean the browser?

        That is a fair point and of course the likes of WhatsApp make the point they can't see what is in the traffic. But depending on how the legislation is worded/interpreted, it could be taken to mean all HTTPS traffic has to be provided with a back door for the Gov (& hence the whole damn world).

        We know this legislation doesn't make sense. That doesn't mean the consequences can't be even worse than we fear.

    3. Bartholomew

      Re: Does this mean the browser?

      It may be end to end, but security is controlled by about 200+ certificate authorities, all of which can issue a 100% valid security certificate for any domain. So if a government, with access to any CA, wished to man-in-the-middle one connection, that is relatively trivial (by design). I would not call https totally end to end secure, since control of who to trust has been fully outsourced, to what should be a "trusted third party", but may not be.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Does this mean the browser?

        Any CA who is discovered to have granted a root cert to a government (and the ikely abuse of that would lead to discovery sooner or later) is going to find all its certs removed on the next OS/browser/whatever update.

        1. Bartholomew

          Re: Does this mean the browser?

          Yes if it was used for mass surveillance, but one individual suspect with an attached gagging order, nobody would notice a thing. The typical suspect would not have technically knowledge to detect it, and the destination site would not notice anything odd because their normal certificate would be used on their side of the man-in-the-middle.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

    People behind UK's bad encryption law that can't withstand global contempt fart in the general direction of global contempt (never mind the local plebs they call 'the general public'). If reality fails to match political expectations, too bad for reality.

    1. Julian 8 Silver badge

      Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

      Up the Empire !

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

    Unfortunately, the thinking in the current government is that global contempt doesn't matter, as long as there's domestic votes to be won from the ignorant with performative outrage. Even the economy can take a back seat as far as they're concerned. So, despite all the excellent points made in the article, which I'm sure have been put to the ministers involved, the desire to stay in power overrides all of them.

    The bigger problem with the stupidity of breaking encryption is that the laws are going to make using non-backdoored encryption a crime. Thus anybody simply wanting to make themselves safe online will be caught in the net of criminalisation.

    1. Fonant

      Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

      No problem hiding encrypted communication: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

        I imagine that steganography itself would be illegal, somehow ("obfuscated payloads are illegal" kind of thing). Steganography is detectable, to one degree or another, so even if not illegal, the illegal encryption would be detected. If steganography is unrestricted, don't encrypt the payload if encryption is itself illegal.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

          Oof. While steganography may be detectable "to one degree or another", It's pretty damned hard to prove. And worse: it's damn near impossible to prove that your inane stream of silly cat videos isn't hiding some encrypted information in the high-coeffcients of your MPEG stream.

          Is it a low-quality video up-encoded into 4K HD? Or is it steganography?

          1. Lil Endian Silver badge

            Re: The UK's bad encryption law can't withstand global contempt

            Yes, I agree. steganography adds a layer to keeping your secrets secret, with exponential effect if done correctly. It comes down to two things: how interesting you are as a subject of interest, and how much compute power is thrown at you.

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: "to one degree or another"

          Agreed, but for good steganography algorithms, with sensible message to media ratios, that degree approaches zero.

  9. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Call thier bluf?

    If Google and Apple had any backbone they could turn the the UK gov and say "fine, we will implement this client-side scanning for all UK phones and are going to have the agency doing this located in China."

    If there is no flaw in your plans why are you not happy? It will be cheaper that way and the Chinese already have expertise in monitoring things :)

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Call thier bluf?

      Please no. There are people in government daft enough to agree to that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Call thier bluf?

        how dare you call us daft?! We ALL agree to that!

  10. Doctor Tarr
    Big Brother

    No trust in the people who decide whats appropriate

    As I understand it the bill’s child safety duties include obligations to prevent children from accessing content that the Culture Secretary considers particularly harmful – even if such content is legal.

    The opinion of what the culture secretary deems appropriate is arbitrary and deeply worrying. The current DCMS Secretary has only been in the role less than month so too soon to comment on her. However would you really trust Nadine Dorries in deciding what's harmful? Given her blind faith in the honesty of Johnson would she block children / anyone from see information that contradicts her view? I absolutely would not trust her.

    Would content be blocked for children investigating whether there are any similarities between the language being used to describe immigrants today and that of Germany in the 1930s?

    The role seems to have a short term tenure regardless of the appointee. It's a low risk role to give to a supporter of the PM. This is far from ideal on such an important issue.

    The examples I've given are for the current government but I wouldn't trust any government with this. All governments who are polling poorly become desperate and will try anything to stay in power.

  11. Handlebars

    Not to disagree with your points, but since when was el Reg guest-edited by 2600.com ?

  12. Al fazed
    Thumb Up

    Kettle ? pot ? WTF ?

    As usual it's what "they" want "us" to do, have, do without, etc.

    Someone earlier said "The opinion of what the culture secretary deems appropriate is arbitrary and deeply worrying." And I strongly agree.

    Who are these people to be dishing out their opinion on anything ? Privileged twats as usual.... Don't get taught anything useful at school, just how to rule.

    Hence we are stuck in a slow spiral of death as these peeps are too far removed from reality to know their arse from their elbow.

    The world is laughing at them and they arrogantly think that they are laughing with them.

    So if hardware from China may be able to be used by Chinese government agencies to spy on peeps over here, why didn't we just ask the Chinese to share the fucking data and save ourselves the sodding embarrassment all round ?

    ALF

  13. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    didn't whacky Jackie Smith try something like this for the other team when she was home secretary? And I seem to recall a certain T May promising an end to the database state when she was in the same job (or was that her boss).

    Even given the general lack of competence expected of politicians, they can't all be so abysmally stupid as to not realise the problems and inherent futility of this kind of thing. It follows that they have ulterior motives - most likely keeping themselves in power. It can't have escaped their notice that the likes of WhatsApp make it very easy to organise protests etc, and it might be very useful to know what, where, when and, of course, who.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      For the politicians it's the gift that keeps on giving. It will probably never make it to the statute books. Which just means they can try again next year.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      The Home Office has proved itself to be very adept at house training its new Home Secs. So much so that one of them gave an account of it in the Times without realising that that's what they'd been doing.

    3. Fonant

      they can't all be so abysmally stupid as to not realise the problems and inherent futility

      Have you seen who is currently in the Tory Cabinet?

      1. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

        "Have you seen who is currently in the Tory Cabinet?"

        Unfortunately, yes. A whole bunch of third rate, no hoper back benchers that nobody has ever heard of, hauled into the cabinet because there simply isn't anyone better.

        What became of all the Big Beasts of politics? The Ken Clarkes, Norman tebbits, Tony benns? Love em or hate em, they had personality and gravitas. The closest we have to any kind of big personality is Boris, and, well, enough said there!

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Devil

          Maybe because anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together wouldn't touch "front-line politics" with a barge pole.

          The media/social-media circus has turned the entire profession into a toxic cess-pit.

          If Ken Clarke were in politics today, he'd be "cancelled" for something or other. All that cancel-culture can easily be whipped up by local or foreign self-interests. The social media companies will pull the levers of AI mass-manipulation all the way to the "dial-a-riot" setting for anyone with enough cash to spend.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Ken Clarke was effectively cancelled

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_suspension_of_rebel_Conservative_MPs

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. short a sandwich

      Re: Idiots have taken over

      “Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.”

      DNA had it all that time ago.

  15. Antony Shepherd

    Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

    Banning strong encryption is like raising the firewalls and saying "No Internet Please, We're British".

    Tories have been going on about this since Cameron's government and I suspect people have had to take them aside and explain things slowly and clearly.

    Ban strong encryption, put backdoors in it, and that's fucked online banking, online shopping, online privacy and anything that requires a secure login. Companies will just block the UK rather than make special exceptions for the benefit of this septic isle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      We don't need any of those foreign websites. We need British websites for British people.

      /sarc. for the few who lack the intelligence

    2. Julian 8 Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      probably using their special advisor who knows a thing or two about the internet "Dido Harding"

      1. two00lbwaster

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        I can't see that name without reading it as "Hard Dildoing"

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      Banning encryption would pretty much stop all internet access to banks and other money sources - so everyone would have to return to the old days of being a lot more secure and walking into the bank or shop to pay for things with cash. Certainly thinks would not be "easier" but then crime would not be easier either.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        They'd have to legislate to ensure we got decent provision for High Street Banks in the High Streets. Of course that would just redirect criminals back to good, old-fashioned bank robbing.

        1. JulieM Silver badge

          Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

          I believe some "Traditional" bank robbers used also to take loan records, thereby spreading their gains around by releasing debtors from their obligations.

      2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        Nicking the day's takings is a lot easier if you only have to cosh someone over the head and run off with the cash box, and the money is essentially untraceable.

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        But that would be quite an attractive proposition to the kind of people who vote for these clowns. A branch of your bank in the High Street, shopping done with actual cash, none of the electronic mularkey...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

          I eventually ran out of banks to change to every time I took my account away from one that closed its local branch. What's worse, when I get to the not-really-local branch I find the counter staff have been disempowered, presumably to force customers to a crap online or phone "service". I regard proper back branches in the same light as backups: you might seldom if ever need them but if you do, you really need them.

          Any bank that opens a branch convenient to me gets my account PDQ.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      "I suspect people have had to take them aside and explain things slowly and clearly."

      The problem is that the people who are taking them aside and explaining things slowly and clearly are the ones who want back-doored encryption. They want to take short cuts in dealing with criminals. My experience - a third of my working life - is that there are no short cuts without risking the innocent in one way or another.

      If this is implemented it will undoubtedly go wrong with a big scandal. Those pressing for it will be well hidden behind official secrecy. Those fronting it will be out of government if not out of Parliament; they'll get some opprobrium but neither will be very unlikely to suffer the penalties they'd deserve.

    5. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      This isn't the tories; it's the Home Office. They've been banging this drum consistently for the last thirty years, or whenever they realised computers were a thing, regardless of which party was in power. The Home Office civil service is extremely good at assimilating whoever ends up as Secretary of State for the department and turning them into just another statist, authoritarian, ID-carding ban-everything-camers-up-the-toilet-tube nutcase, who thinks it's not only possible, but necessary to monitor every moment of every citizen's life, just in case they think about maybe doing something unapproved.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        Indeed. And it's not just our home office. It's Australia, Canada, US, pretty much the whole English-speaking world. The Chinese and Russians are already living in 1984. Europe are a little way behind but already sliding down the authoritarian/nationalist slope.

        That's one of the things that has led me to believe for the last 20 years that the world is hurtling towards a third world war. The first casualty is the Truth, etc.

        Nuke: At least it's quick.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

          https://fee.org/articles/australia-s-unprecedented-encryption-law-is-a-threat-to-global-privacy/

          If you defeat encryption at the decryption points (key holders and applications) - you've still neutralized and neutered it's purpose.

          It's actually worse over here than "just" attacking mere encryption. Our legislation has already *made it legal* for the government to:

          Compromise Australian software via the developer, without informing anybody else, under threat of national security.

          If you use Australian software: there's no reasonable expectation that it's not compromised either at the software level, the data and systems or the human level or all these. If fact, it's most unreasonable to expect anything is secure at all. This legislation tarnishes an entire nation's industry - proving how backwards this place is.

          We are not allowed to speak of it when compelled else we face national security hammers.

          We are compelled to introduce back-door's, intentionally weaken (compromise) security, hand over keys, create god keys for bad actors (the government or anyone else) and anything requested all to basically compromise encryption - without actually breaking it. They've just gone a layer lower to layer 0 and -1 layer on the OSI model: the systems & the humans.

          What the government says is:

          If a developer says get fucked I won't compromise my company's security, they are a terrorist.

          If a developer informs the boss, hey I told <malicious government agent> to get fucked as I won't compromise my company's security, they are a terrorist.

          If a developer informs a colleague, they are a terrorist.

          If a developer informs a colleague, hey I told <malicious government agent> to get fucked as I won't compromise my company's security, they are a terrorist.

          Not only have they done this, they've made it legal for themselves to literally make up shit against you & call it evidence! The legislation forbids that very fabrication from being disclosed! Juries and justices are blind to it - so you can and will get thrown in jail indefinitely (as a terr'ist|kiddie fiddler|whatever they want) on 100% fabrications by the government apparatus leveled right at an individual.

          If you are not a celebrity or a rich person, good luck getting an iota of a defense. And even if your legal team actually tries, the "evidence" is apparently damning.

          The absurdity and abhorrence of this legislation is mind boggling. How are all our nations being dragged to such a draconian society unfettered. Something needs to change.

          Not just an attack on encryption, but what it's end goal is: privacy/some attempt at security. This country clearly proves it by going hellfire after whistleblower and journalists reporting the facts but of course not the war criminals, who they proudly support.

          Our government absolutely does not think people deserve a right to privacy or anything secret. Their actions clearly betray their intents.

          Even though they know they will lose and the public outraged, they hang their teeth on, motivating the entire bureaucracy of government against these individuals, treating them as enemies of the state.

          Especially those that are "political" journalists, by political they mean: anything the government doesn't like.

          If your report truth or facts and the government is even mentioned, pretty much you are fucked in this country. They will attack you and hound you and isolate you, drain you of all finances, family, friends - even if you eventually are vindicated and win by a miracle - they make damn sure you still actually lost everything.

          I do encourage you to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIweDcHjDrM

          Our government will call a a voted in and concerned politician, a leader of his party; a traitor! Verbatim, in parliament, Dutton went on to call him: "An enemy of the state" - for giving that speech. A man simply wanting to not have a truly evil set of new laws passed into legislation.

          The government does indeed see the public as the enemy. It's just so vicious and open now. They are brazen and proud of it thugs.

          They might as well insist on forcing government cameras into our bedrooms, have agents come "document|check" how couples make love or put cameras in the underwear draws & toilets.

          This is attitude by the people that run down the country, those that support pedophiles proudly, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVBcjbjKDY8, these guys, telling us to be decent and if we have nothing to hide, nothing to fear!?

      2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        And cabinet ministers that resist the assimilation get accused of "bullying".

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

          Sorry, what?

          Are you trying to say that the likes of Priti Patel, Dominic Raab and Suella Braverman are trying to resist some plot by the civil servants to turn the UK into 1984 / Stasi East Germany ?

          It's very much the other way round: Anyone in the civil service who disagrees with the plan to ditch all human rights or still clings on to "European thinking" gets purged. We saw that when Bojo came to power.

          It's unclear to me who is pulling the ministers strings, but the idea that the ministers themselves are innocent, benevolent parties is utter nonsense.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

            ID cards were "european thinking". The overarching justification for them was to harmonise with EU requirements for a single identity document, which the Home Office gleefully ran with, because it would give them the opportunity to impose a bureaucratic and authoritarian yoke on the populace. There are no "innocents" at any level of this, only degrees of evil, with the EU being relatively benign in this instance - they are, after all, simply attempting to harmonise the existing state of play in most EU member states, where ID cards are not seen as an intrusion by the state in the same way as they are here.

            The implementation of ID cards hadn't become an EU competence (and I believe it still isn't) and remained something that member states had prime legislative power over, so we weren't required to implement them at the time. The home office wanted them anyway and simply ran ahead of the slow moves toward harmonisation.

            It is worth noting that the original topic of the article - breaking encryption so we can all think of the children - is also something the EU is also pursuing, so even that isn't a "tory" policy, or some unique policy of this country's government in opposition to "european thinking". If we were still in the EU, the government would support it at the supranational level, while playing the "nothing we can do guv" game at home. The situation now, as with the ID card debacle, is that the government has to actually argue in support of the policy, rather than pretending it's simply a passive receiver of EU diktats. We, at least now, have the opportunity to oppose it directly, rather than trying to somehow organise a pan-eu opposition.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

              Everyone with a really difficult task is apt to grab onto a "silver bullet" which promises to simplify it. There is no silver bullet, of course. In this case, if the corporate products were backdoored or withdrawn from the UK there's be a few under-the-counter alternatives to take their place. After all, the basic encryption libraries are out there and all it requires is some code - possibly iffy - to wrap it up for use. The nearest it would come to being a silver bullet is that it might be easier to get one or more backdoored under-the-counter products into circulation.

              The downsides won't be the concern of those pushing the idea - that'll be another department. SEP. The temptation of the silver bullet is hard to resist.

    6. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      "Tories have been going on about this since Cameron's government and I suspect people have had to take them aside and explain things slowly and clearly."

      Indeed they have, and Blair / Brown before them. Apart from whacky Jackie, didn't Peter Mandelson want to introduce some stupidity ostensibly to curb file sharing? The inevitable result would have been that half the population started using VPNs, and I assume that M took him quietly aside and explained with a big stick why that wasn't helpful to them.

      Speaking of VPNs, how does this proposed idiocy affect them?

      The fact is, politicians just don't like people being able to access information directly from source, much less spread it around. They prefer to hold on to power by controlling information and communication. The wake-up call, if they needed one, was the debacle of Jack Straw's son being arrested - the Blair government put a D notice on that, forbidding the UK press from reporting it, though some got around it by reporting that an unnamed minister's son was arested, and printing a big picture of jack Straw in another article right next to it.

      Of course, it didn't stop the rest of the world reporting it, and in those early days of home internet many people fired up their modems and read the story elsewhere. From that moment, unsupervised access to the net was doomed, it was just a matter of time.

    7. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

      Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

      And you think the other lot are any better? Who do you think pushed RIPA through?

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

        There is another lot, you know. We have more than two parties.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

          Almost all the other parties are just minor versions of the big two, so not worth voting for as they'd only implement the same policies, which all stem from a consensus position on so many topics that they might as well all be the same party anyway. Anyone who admits voting for any other parties, the ones that actually differ from the consensus position enough to matter, is pilloried as a transcendental crackpot, possibly racist, and whatever other epithets fit the party's core platform.

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

            Hmm. As you may have guessed, I tend to vote for the Lib Dems.

            Are you going to pillory me as a transcendental crackpot, "possibly racist", etc etc?

            The biggest problem with politics these days is that everything is presented as a binary choice i.e. a (false) dichotomy. All sense of nuance is lost in the endless battle for your attention.

            TBH you could extend your argument to say that all parties are just versions of the same thing and might as well all be the same party anyway.. And George Orwell would very much agree with you.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

              At worst, I might call you a hopeless optimist.

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Coffee/keyboard

                Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

                I've never been called that before, thanks.

            2. tiggity Silver badge

              Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

              The Lib Dems, the party that campaigned on an (overall) more left wing ticket than Labour in 2010 & got a lot of votes from people wanting the Conservatives out in marginals where Labour had little chance.

              .. And then went into coalition with the most right wing party (the Tories) and enabled some unpleasant legislation.

              Thus proving themselves equally as untrustworthy as the "big 2"

              ..But I'm one of those who does not really a useful vote* without some form of UK wide PR as live in a constituency where conservative party have had a significant majority in all elections I have lived in the area

              * None of the parties really appeal to me (as I'm towards the left, unlike e.g. current Labour), but of all the parties to vote for, the conservatives are the ones I least like so my option is no vote or a tactical vote for a "marginally less bad than a Tory" candidate.

          2. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

            "Anyone who admits voting for any other parties, the ones that actually differ from the consensus position enough to matter, is pilloried as a transcendental crackpot, possibly racist, and whatever other epithets fit the party's core platform."

            Please tell me you aren't a Reform party supporter?

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

              You're not exactly disproving my point. Without knowing anything about my voting habits, you've already begun to assume a great deal about me, based on your own prejudices and a few keywords.

              But to answer your question: My views on Farage were formed when he transformed UKIP from a narrowly-focused, non-partisan, single-issue party, into his personal publicity vehicle, and have not changed since. I would vote for the devil himself before voting for any political party he endorses or is part of.

              1. Mooseman Silver badge

                Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

                "you've already begun to assume a great deal about me, based on your own prejudices and a few keywords."

                Er, no. I asked a question based on your ranting about being called a racist. Yet your first defensive response is to call me prejudiced. Interesting. Oh, and you supported Farage right up until you suddenly realised he is nothing more than a self aggrandising self publicist, but you happily supported his lies about the EU and how great it would be for Britain if we ditched all the benefits of being inside the world's biggest single market?

                I'd say my assumptions weren't too far off the mark.

                1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

                  Re: Yet again the Tories come along with this bullshit.

                  No, I did not support Farage at any point. He didn't form UKIP. He took it over. Before he came along, the party's goal was to transform our relationship with the EU into something more akin to Norway, retaining membership of the EEA and cooperating on issues that facilitate free trade, but without the unnecessary trappings of statehood that the EU was assigning to itself. After his takeover, it was a Farage Is Amazing party.

                  Your assumptions are wildly off the mark, and yes they are prejudiced, because you're assigning beliefs to me that are simply not evident from anything I've said.

  16. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Idiots have taken over

    and for a long time ago.

    "Each year, there are more dumbasses than the previous one. I've got the feeling that the ones of next year did come sooner".

    I agree with Mr. Barnes, it's just a matter of time before some politician asks for the ban of encryption.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Lord Chamberlain's Office under another name

    After a long campaign ending in 1968 theatre plays no longer had to be submitted to The Lord Chamberlain for censorship before they were produced. It appears that OFCOM (Office For Censorship of Media) is now the new censor-in-chief. The nanny state already has IPCO (Investigating Pornographic Content Office) and the related OCDA (Office of Curtailing Data Authority). Intercepting letters requires the authority of the Home Secretary, and the Post Office is not liable for the content. So why will my ISP and myself be liable for prosecution if I email you a photograph of your dangly bits that you left caught on my barbed wire fence?

  18. Panicnow

    The solution is MORE encryption not less!

    Now if EVERY communication was encrypted AND SIGNED...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Communication tools are only as good as the people willing to use them.

    I gave up on WhatsApp and will give up on any obviously compromised messenger but it does mean there are people I need to pick up the phone to reach.

    The technology is out there already, the better it is, the less people use it.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Communication tools are only as good as the people willing to use them.

      Thank you for ringing High Street Bank. We have been experiencing unusual levels of calls for the last ten years. You are 258th in the queue. Please enter your bank account number followed by hash. This will not remove the need for our agent to ask you for it when you get through.

  20. iron Silver badge

    The Encryption Rebellion started a long, long time ago Rupert.

    Those of us who are old enough were illegally downloading PGP in the 90s.

    We did it before, we WILL do it again.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "we WILL do it again"

      No need:

      apt install gpg

      Reading package lists... Done

      Building dependency tree... Done

      Reading state information... Done

      gpg is already the newest version (2.2.27-2+deb11u2).

  21. Franco

    I feel very safe and secure at the thought of all communications having a backdoor that the Met can access. There aren't any issues with trust there....

    Was exactly the same with RIPA, they don't understand what they are proposing and don't know that any exploit, even if it is meant to be only for law enforcement, is a total one.

    Besides which, it won't work anyway. If you decrypt the channels that the communications go through, then the criminals will just go back to encrypting the payloads.

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      Not just the criminals - we would -all- have to go back to encrypting the payloads!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How hard is it to understand that.........

    .........RELYING ON A NETWORK SERVICE IS A SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE.....

    .........because the network service can be compromised by backdoors (you know....NSA, GCHQ, and who knows who else....)

    So.....if you want your messaging to be private, you need to ENSURE that the encryption and decryption is done BY YOU on your own end point devices.................

    .......and you DO NOT RELY on WhatsApp, or Signal, or Telegram, to do the encryption ON YOUR BEHALF..............

    (1) Private encryption on your own workstation

    (2) Private decryption on your buddy's own workstation

    (3) Messages can be sent over Gmail

    .........and all the snoops will see is YOUR OWN ENCRYPTION! What a concept!!

    Reading for reference:

    (A) Applied Cryptography, Steve Schneier, Chapter 22

    (B) Cryptography Engineering, Ferguson/Schneier/Kohno, Chapter 11

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Private Encryption.....can take many forms.....

      Of course, encryption comes in many flavours. So, just so El Reg commentards can see what is possible.....

      The snoops can be assured ('cos I said so) that this is the same plain text message in two different guises.

      BOOK CIPHER

      cfSfaF8LuV83c3kV2Tqf8hy3QbsD05slixKL0BaL05y3id0dcZqnE1MfEFURARAFo76RYhSV01S7

      EXcvk7aHkLGLa1IHoJSpA5erOXGpWXEDglmf0pidwp0tYNkNGBqpmxkHy9S9cfEtyvCvexg1cFwF

      GZaRe5iFe3EP6lKLqrSFuVmX4L8TMtQnAPKPk5Cnmlmfyjo7E1qL0RenezAPs7WXszariBsbWVSB

      c7kpg9EVCd69AXCbEHcf4fCvMR8R8botmxaxsvOj6t6XS9yTsNadYzkBqvA9ej0fGreJw1K9UJ4R

      oxgR47yVIN0x6PKBAf6P85qlWBivaRMvUtwLEvgpOPmnIPE1ObS7YFazcPmfozm52lE1ANeBwdgh

      eTapGf2Jm3iZyxitej0J4B6JuNIbu1sDY1EDETyNUlqnYPkXyVKHILIrSboHCFcXKlepajg9w9iJ

      2Jq9mXiX8ZUrex0TSv6XclqL8BMNyBMrqJKrE1s9ITwpS7mle7sba9azQlyL6FKVm3mJGniJWBeh

      eJmXSFgpID0x4JazC5WVgxuRkh6fO3gdw5mPubW5At6nqbwzKJWZKPmHUd2DUrenSbYv4xs5oVwt

      05QnoLs3G9MJ0tqfGlSBWzqbm3yhwn258LIHSFa1YNQb8dQJGVAnupaZ0LsFWnSBgpudAl8TqrOb

      uH0dOlI3yJIlYB6HOzAX

      DIFFIE/HELLMAN (AES)

      Rla1x8Ec4tnQKAimRPhcw4BLj74fWUoMpyYAjqDDvVSybtnsdHPsiY484kn4Ak70cpUr0MnSJmuB

      aL96uZcwkE6WzwF6y2l9Y9QDVRw3SdSbM8JoIAl7h5Y9L2CNI/Dqi6dStvWbxk9l9Ic9MDWHK3nu

      w9sOjrKoMT0+lEV7Q2mQzPisz0Ee4liPBEQ+hlC5rYYG0o9Db2aquesoFB5hGsLbuXSglcKQwtDW

      yoBtH1GuMYek+A9J3wZbjpiRCrINVSmojNln8PXvVd9M5FDS79m5QgQI8zI8FjYihM7c3/5exS8=

      == The End ==

  23. Duncan10101

    Can we PLEASE stop using the word "Snoop"?? It's the language of minimization. It makes it sound like a cute-and-harmless dog from Peanuts. Can we use something more appropriate for what's actually happening. May I suggest we replace it with the term "Data-Rape"?

    Example uses:

    It's a snooper's charter -> It's a data-rapist's charter

    They are snooping on you -> They are data-raping you

    I don't like the snoops -> I don't like the data-rapists

    The govt will snoop your internet traffic -> The govt will data-rape your internet traffic

    Thanks.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      No. Snoop has a well accepted meaning. Rape has another and different one. By trying to conflate the two you diminish the one without effectively replacing the other.

      1. Duncan10101

        I utterly disagree that "Snoop" is a word that has the true connotations of what is really going on. That is really the crux of what I'm saying. However, if you don't like that it is conflated with "Rape" then I see your point. Please feel free to suggest a different word that means "Takes by force what is most private and intimate to us," because "Snoop" does not cut it.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Facepalm

          "Surveillance" is the word you are looking for.

          It's rather hypocritical of you to bang on about "the language of minimisation" when you take the word "rape" for this context.

      2. two00lbwaster

        You've fallen into the trap of understanding the word only with its modern context. Rape has long meant to despoil, to take by force (that's where our more limited modern usage of it comes from). As such it's perfectly appropriate and it is exactly how I have used it to describe default opt out policies as opposed to opt in.

        Here's a dictionary definition with the archaic version mentioned https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rape

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          I fell into the trap of being a forensic biologist for rather too long. It was only meant to be a stop-gap.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Words......and then there's meaning.......

      @Duncan10101

      So.........it's more important to argue about a word.......

      ........than discuss whether the NSA or GCHQ are scanning everyone's messaging.

      About words....how about "privacy"......or do you want to use some other word?

      1. Duncan10101

        Re: Words......and then there's meaning.......

        The words themselves are actually quite important. I'm not saying that we shouldn't discuss the issues and instead focus on the words (I don't know how you managed to read that into my message). I also understand if people don't like my suggestion of "Rape." What I'm saying is that "Snoop" gives the whole hideous exercise a veneer of "It doesn't really matter." But it damned-well does matter, and I think it needs more powerful words to describe it ... whatever they might be. There are so many examples of important issues being brought into focus by a well-chosen word or phrase (or hashtag). There are also many examples of individuals and communities putting great effort into choosing words that they feel adequately describe themselves. And I support them in that. I think these words ARE important, and an anti-surveillance movement is unlikely to be sparked by the title "Snoop."

  24. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Lets hope this goes the way of the last online safety bill or whatever it was called, where they wanted the company behind Pronhub to be vetting that people were over 18 before they could look at boobies and willys. As when they took a really close look at it, they realised it was a cluster fsck that wouldn't actually work in the real world.

  25. matthewdjb

    All I can says is:

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    1. veti Silver badge

      Burma Shave.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Said this before but the whole bill is such an unworkable mess that it is likely to collapse under its own weight.

  27. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    What about the likes

    of myself......

    Still got the RSA algorithm written down somewhere, and the programming ability to use it.... even put it in a client-server messaging application written for my degree course(not really needed... but hey what the helll....)

    Do I submit myself to the ministry of love to be re-programmed and erase all knowledge ... or what...

    As for child pron, I know of a case of it where the plod siezed someones PC... traced the creators via their IP addresses, and nicked the people joining in with the abuse by reading up the perp's address book..... all good old fashioned plod work and no need for anyones messaging apps to have their encyrption broken.

    perps got 16 and 18 yrs in clink, the joiner ins got 14 yrs and the original offender got 5....

    Ps 95% of all child abuse occurs from either family members or someone close to the family.....

  28. heyrick Silver badge

    a step too dystopian

    For the current Home Secretary, there is no step too dystopian.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: a step too dystopian

      Also:

      The government says, with a straight face, that to Protect the Children it must install back doors in end-to-end encryption.
      This is no surprise. This government makes a habit of lying with a straight face.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: a step too dystopian

        When you lack all technical knowledge there's no chance of cognitive dissonance. The important thing is to learn the script properly and stop improvising about hashtags and the like.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: a step too dystopian

      For the Home Office no step is too dystopian. Home Secs, all of them, are just their house-trained politicians; you don't think they work this stuff out on their own, do you?

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: a step too dystopian

        Who then, apart from the home secretary, actually runs the Home Office? Who is this Big Brother character that seems to inhabit 2 Marsham Street?

        Possible names from Wikipedia include: Mark Lowcock, Matthew Rycroft, Sir Phllip Rutnam (all "Knight Commanders" of some Order... Sounds very 'Deus Ex' ..)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is opt in a workable compromise?

    Could those who need content moderation capabilities have an option to allow a moderator inside a still encrypted conversation? I suppose if Eve can see that Alice has invoked content moderation then there will be less chance that Eve will abuse Alice?

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Is opt in a workable compromise?

      But who will moderate the moderator?

  30. cantankerous swineherd

    what does "signal will leave the UK" mean?

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      It means that the size/importance of the UK market isn't worth the risk/nuisance of having to deal with the UK government.

      Its easy for countries to over estimate their size and importance these days, especially if that's all you've known from birth. So it might be unthinkable that some company might think the UK market's not worth the bother due to arcane local rules until you realize that the UK, although still fairly important economically, has a smaller GDP than the US state that I live in. (Its even worse when you look at the "little countries of the EU" -- many in population and economic terms are dwarfed by a US city or county)(which is why I find the Baltic States cheer leading for someone to fight a war for them a bit amusing -- globally speaking, they're insignificant, noise makers who are all trying to get a slice of our supersized defense budget).

      Not being part of the EU politically may or may not have been a wise thing for the UK to do but not being part of Europe's economy is economic suicide (fortunately saner heads are starting to get a handle on things).

      1. JulieM Silver badge

        But the "little countries of the EU" make up for their apparently small numbers of both people and Euros by having the same laws as the bigger countries. If some country decided to cease trading altogether with Belgium, all they would notice would be a corresponding increase in orders from other EU member states, and business would carry on almost as normal in Belgium.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Signal works by using a mobile number* as the user ID. All they have to do is delete those with +44 as the country code and not accept new ones.

      * It can be a burner phone/SIM, see their YouTubes about setting up the desktop apps.

  31. scubaal

    groundhog day

    How many times do we have to do this?

    It seems every few years a pollie somewhere comes up with the way to 'protect the children' by breaking everything else.

    The crazy thing about this (if it were to be enacted) is it will utterly destroy any IT security business based in the UK.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: groundhog day

      "The crazy thing about this (if it were to be enacted) is it will utterly destroy any IT security business based in the UK."

      Beyond that, governments conduct business behind the scenes using encryption. A clueless politician that chooses the wrong method in contravention of policy could leak a whole mass of communications to the wrong people in the same way that Hillary Clinton did by operating her own private mail server and using it for government business when she was Secretary of State. The machinations of government are often not best viewed in their entirety. Finances are also very important to the masses as well as communications with one's attorney. Even something as routine as concluding a real estate transaction can go wrong if a bad person can read emails. A scam that happens is a person is sent an email that they need to send the final payment to another bank account than from previous transactions on their attorney's letterhead/formatting and, poof, the money is gone. People need to be taught that even if they think they don't have any secrets, there are loads of things that they need to keep private. Before the internet, a criminal would have to physically intercept your mail which would mean they'd need to be local. With the internet, that person could be entirely untouchable in a country such as North Korea and not just posses one document, but an entire message chain.

  32. Daytona955

    Is it true that...

    ...the code name for the WhatsApp backdoor is 'Oakeshott'?

  33. Danny 5
    Thumb Down

    Want to get disconnected from the rest of the world?

    Because that's how you get disconnected from the rest of the world.

    Let's forget for a moment how ludicrous this proposal is in the first place, do any of them have any idea what the real life implications are? Do they think every single international bank is going to give them a backdoor? Every global CA give them access to the root cert? Even if they go ahead an push this insane bill, it's utterly impossible to enforce without irreprably damaging their access to the global internet.

  34. Addanc

    The conservatives are demonstrating Labour levels of incompetence, but a quick look at some of the Labour front bench Starmer, Rayner, Dodds, McFadden, Lammy, Cooper, Nandy, Ashworth, Reynolds, Miliband, frightening. Labour have always trashed the economy.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      " Labour have always trashed the economy"

      I assume you can cite examples of that? GDP under Blair / Brown was significantly better than under either the preceding and following tory governments, until the 2008 crash (which was nothing to do with labour, rather more to do with bankers cashing in on events - bankers, hedge fund managers, and investors like, oh, Rishi Sunak)

      Statistically, the Conservatives have presided over a far slower growth in earnings than Labour, on average. Median gross annual earnings grew by an average of £638 in the six Labour years from 2005-2010. Then, under the Conservatives, they grew by an average of just £389 per year between 2011-2016. But the worst year since the nineties was in 2010 (tory), when median gross earnings rose by just 0.3 per cent. This was a crossover year, when the the government switched from Labour to Conservative.

      The reducing the gender pay gap (yes, it's still a thing) has slowed under the tories.

      Health and education spending were both higher under labour.

      Your turn?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        until the 2008 crash (which was nothing to do with labour, rather more to do with bankers cashing in on events which events were a long period of cheap money and rapidly inflating property prices due to governments setting (or having central banks set) interest rates based on measures of inflation which ignored housing costs. Gordon Brown was not just the Chancellor responsible for that policy in the UK, he was an enthusiastic proselytiser, upbraiding countries which didn't join in. The GDP growth was a result of that and the 2008 crash was the eventual bill.

        1. Mooseman Silver badge

          So you're claiming that Brown was responsible for a GLOBAL banking crisis, are you? Nothing to do with the US sub prime market then?

          Nothing to do with the 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act, deregulating over-the-counter derivatives—securities that were essentially bets that two parties could privately make on the future price of an asset, like, for example, bundled mortgages, which allowed for investment banks to reap immense near-term profits by betting on the continuing rise of real-estate values—and also for such banks to fail once the billions on their balanced sheets proved illusory because ultimately, overextended American borrowers— who had been sold more debt than they could afford, secured on ephemeral assets—began to default. In an ever-speeding spiral, the bundled mortgage securities lost their AAA credit ratings, and banks fell headlong into bankruptcy. The US government bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (despite cries of "socialism" from republicans, natch) but declined to save Lehman's, which meant that within weeks the bank had tens of billions of dollars in overvalued assets on its balance sheets. Anyone who still held Lehman securities on the assumption that the government would bail them out had bet wrong, and the dominos began to fall.

          Still, all labours' fault, eh?

  35. Old-dog

    Any sufficiently stupid technology is indistinguishable from magical thinking

    How can you know that they don't have the technology to create a weakness that only they can exploit?

    I'm sure they also made a gun that only fires when it's aiming at a bad person and doesn't fire when it's aiming at a good one.

    1. NiceCuppaTea

      Re: Any sufficiently stupid technology is indistinguishable from magical thinking

      Whether you are good or bad is decided by the oppinion of the home secretary? Is that info mainained large database maintained by Crapita thats actually just a giant excel spreadsheet with a vlookup?

  36. The Central Scrutinizer

    Good luck Britain....

    You're gonna need it. Actually, if this shit becomes law, everybody who uses the Internet is going to have to become a criminal, just to be safe.

    My irony meter just melted.

  37. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    A single thread reveals little of the tapestry it belongs to

    The 'Contemptible Members of Parliament' along with others upon whom has been conferred the greater distinction of 'Most Contemptible', are products of their time and best understood in the context of how they arose.

    The 21st century UK is qualitatively different in important respects from all that went before. The major component of change rests with the pace of post-WW2 technological advance, affecting almost all aspects of life. Another factor is substantial alteration of individual expectations from life, these consequent upon a meld of technologies, from introduction via immigration of differing outlooks, and, latterly, ease of global communication.

    The best educated among the population are becoming, year by year, of narrowing perspective of knowledge and understanding. Victorian perception of the polymath is long dead. At a lower level of achievement/imagination, there once was the well-educated man. His education was generally founded in the Classics and other Humanities. His thought processes could be acute. His reasoning skills would be founded on Aristotelian logic. His enquiring mind could lead to basic grasp of matters beyond those covered by his formal education.

    From the cadre of the well-educated were drawn members of learned professions, civil servants, and, for the most part, MPs and members of the Lords. Of MPs, few if any examples of learned amateurs persist; figures like Enoch Powell and Anthony Wedgwood Benn, are long gone. The average MP and the typical government minister is an unimpressive figure, distinguished primarily by 'gift of the gab' persuasion of an even more poorly educated universal franchise electorate.

    Demands upon holders of high office of state differ qualitatively from previous times. No longer is syllogistic reasoning sufficient. Ministers must grasp statistical concepts pertaining to uncertainty; lack of that faculty played out painfully during the Covid-19 epidemic fiasco. Moreover, ministers ought to possess minds sharp enough to interrogate subject specialists brought in to advise. Sadly, nowadays, ministers truly represent the average of their electorates with respect to narrowness of education, paucity of reasoning skills, and, too, doubtful personal integrity.

    The foregoing is but a sketch. It omits consideration of important, and disastrous, changes to economic assumptions and geopolitical alignments. Yet, it ought to suffice to explain the dismal state of governance arising from intellectual and educational mediocrity within the self-sustaining, now 'professional', 'political class'. It's ridiculous to expect people capable of only rudimentary thought processes to form coherent opinions on topics such as encryption technologies.

    1. Mooseman Silver badge

      Re: A single thread reveals little of the tapestry it belongs to

      Sorry, you were doing quite well until you mentioned Enoch Powell. Now I have to ask, what on earth are you on about?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A single thread reveals little of the tapestry it belongs to

        He mentioned Enoch Powell? I gave up part way through the first sentence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Past........But What About The Future?

      @Long_John_Silver

      Nice! But focused on analytical skills and the process of understanding. These are primarily focused on the past. And of course they are important.

      Perhaps you did not have time or space to address other equally important thinking skills:

      (1) Developing and articulating a vision of some aspect of the future

      (2) Developing a strategy for that vision

      (3) Developing policies

      (4) Selling all of the above

      Ah......you did mention #4 (Quote: "...distinguished primarily by 'gift of the gab' persuasion...").

      But sadly, if we only get item #4 in our politicians, and none of items #1, #2 and #3......

      ......then we are all f**ked!

      The recent empty debate about the word "growth" makes my point in spades!!!!!

      1. Mooseman Silver badge

        Re: The Past........But What About The Future?

        "Nice! But focused on analytical skills and the process of understanding."

        And not focusing at all on "being a racist"...

  38. cookieMonster Silver badge

    Looking in from outside

    From the EU that is, this whole episode is pants wetting hilarious. It really is something along the lines of a monty python/ faulty towers/ benny hill mash up.

    I’m truly sorry to all my fellow reg commentards who actually have to live there and do hope someday that you will eventually get a government made up of grownups.

  39. Grabu

    Encryption

    Every email we send goes through a privately developed encryption app. So point to point anyone with our key can view it's contents. This also works with numerous way to chat. So all any unworthy user has to do is get a similar app... Once a private group whether innocent or the ungodly has one of these apps they are able to communicate with impunity and do what they like. Not public available apps... Easy to do, politicians spend most of there time showing their ignorance and push problems under the carpet out of sight out of mind. Protect children? I don't think so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You Don't Need A Shared Key.......

      @grabu

      Quote: "...anyone with our key..."

      There's NO NEED AT ALL for shared or published or persistent keys!

      Every message can have a random key which is never published.....only calculated when needed.

      Ref: Applied Cryptography, Steve Schneier -- Chapter 22

      Ref: Cryptography Engineering, Ferguson/Schneier/Kuhno - Chapter 11

  40. Conundrum1885

    A while back

    I found an unbreakable encryption algorithm which is a matrix multiplication using pressed DVD slack space.

    The key here is a one time pad which is the ISBN of the disc in question, first ensuring that

    the recipient HAS a readable copy then encoding it, putting the disc back in its packet and

    giving it to a charity shop in a pile of DVDs to make recovery very difficult.

    Then sending the resulting file via an SD card in the post, in the unused space with a firmware hack that

    detects someone has put it in the wrong machine and if so immediately zerofills the slack space then

    deletes itself.

    Good luck cracking that!

    Added steps: sending the ISBN using a burner phone, and then rather than burning the phone,

    sell it to some bratling for like £4.20 having first ensured that the number is wiped, etc to use as THEIR

    burner phone :-)

  41. Mike 137 Silver badge

    A universal maxim?

    "Any law whose spirit can be defeated while abiding by the letter is a bad law that is bound to fail if enough people saw away at its legs"

    This applies to almost any UK law, given the way our laws are created. EU laws are prefaced by substantial explanatory sections (the recitals) which to a great extent prevent misinterpretation (provided of course that you read and take account of them) because they explain what the law is intended to achieve. The so-called explanatory notes to UK laws are by comparison negligible and devoid of usefulness as they don't ever explain the intended outcome of the legislation, so interpretation in the UK is usually literalist. For example, let's look at another privacy issue. This has been most demonstrated by the interpretation of the transparency obligation under the UK GDPR. The relevant statutory clauses, if literally interpreted in a minimalist sense, do not actually fulfil the real world requirements for transparency, but if you ignore the recitals (which are still present in the UK GDPR) the minimum interpretation allows much more freedom to do whatever you like with folks' personal data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A universal maxim....Yes...The Maxim Is "No Enforcement"!

      @Mike_137

      Quote: "...much more freedom to do whatever you like with folks' personal data...."

      Link: https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/10/ipco_report_2020/

      Link: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jul/03/google-deepmind-16m-patient-royal-free-deal-data-protection-act

      Thoughtful! Informed! Very nice!

      But you forgot to mention that UK laws typically make minimal arrangements for enforcement. Examples:

      (1) My suburban street has a 30mph speed limit....and AMG Mercs regularly cruise at 70mph -- no sign of enforcement

      (2) GDPR -- Google/DeepMind slurp 1.6 million personal medical records from the Royal Free Trust -- no penalty

      (3) Recent (multiple) news items about Scotland Yard (aka Wayne Couzens University) -- 99% plus of egregious behaviour unpunished

      In all these cases, and many many others......NO ENFORCEMENT!

      So.....your example of GDPR is correct.....but you forgot to mention that ALL this law making in Westminster is simply window dressing.....law makers grandstanding about "doing something" to fix some media-created "problem"......when in actual fact NOTHING IS ACTUALLY ACHIEVED!!

      Your taxpayer pound (by the billion) at work!!!

  42. I.E. an Erich Hartmann

    It's Doable

    Just imagine, you use GNUpg to communicate (DeltaChat does exactly that behind the scenes).

    With GNUpg, you can add lots of receipients to a cryptgram. This is very efficient, because for each recipieht, just the symmetric session key is encrypted with the receiver's PubKey.

    So, create a law to mandate that each cryptogramm must add GCHQ/BND/DGSI(whatever nationally appropriate) as a receiver. Those who ignore the law get their internet access locked for three weeks. Exceptions for lawyers, priests and medical doctors.

    I trust these agencies to protect their PrivateKey and the plaintext. There exist physical measures to perform this securely.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's Doable....And Without Any Persistent Keys!

      @I.E._an_Erich_Hartmann

      Quote: "...symmetric session key..."

      There's NO NEED AT ALL for shared or published or persistent keys!

      Every message can have a random key which is never published.....only calculated when needed.

      Ref: Applied Cryptography, Steve Schneier -- Chapter 22

      Ref: Cryptography Engineering, Ferguson/Schneier/Kuhno - Chapter 11

  43. Andrew Jones 2

    Presumably, police warrants will be next?

    Presumably, if this actually gets passed, the Government will then start trying to push the idea that the police should not need warrants to search people's property - you know, because of "think of the kids" and all that crap.

    "If we didn't need to apply for a warrant, then it would save us precious time in locating a kidnapped child"

    And then

    "If we didn't need to apply for a warrant, we'd be able to prevent more terror attacks"

    You watch,

    This is the road we are heading down.

    And the usual line "well if you haven't done anything wrong, then why would you object" will be trotted out too.

  44. Mooseman Silver badge

    The joke is, of course, that terrorists tend not to use complex encryption to hide their nefarious activities. Banking fraudsters maybe, but the kind of excuse being foisted on us about terrorism is pathetic - even if Mr Terrorist has his emails and chat messages read, what happens? Nothing, as we have seen countless times. The Paris attackers used SMS messaging.

  45. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The "Make Pi = 3" debate all over again.

    Unless you are Bloody Stupid Johnson and building a sorting machine for the post office, Pi will never be exactly 3 and secure backdoors to encryption will never be possible.

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