UK Government Seeking Access to Encrypted Messaging Apps in Wake of London Attack

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Amber Rudd, the United Kingdom's home secretary, recently mentioned that it is "completely unacceptable" that the government could not gain access to messages stored on mobile applications protected by end-to-end encryption, such as WhatsApp. Rudd is calling for the UK police and other intelligence agencies to be given access to such apps to thwart any future terrorist plots, coming in the wake of the attack in London last week (via The Guardian).

Rudd's next step is summoning leaders of various technology companies to a meeting with the UK government on March 30 "to discuss what to do." The home secretary mentioned that the government would be willing to pass completely new legislation focusing on encrypted messaging and mobile apps if the talks this Thursday don't go her way. Rudd referred to WhatsApp, and similar apps, as potential "secret places" for terrorists to hide.

But she stressed it was her desire to persuade internet and social media companies to cooperate voluntarily with the government on this and also the posting of extremist material online.

Rudd added: "It is completely unacceptable. There should be no place for terrorists to hide.

"We need to make sure that organizations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other."
Rudd's focus on WhatsApp is spurned by information that Khalid Masood -- the individual behind the London attacks outside Parliament -- used the Facebook-owned messaging app just minutes before the attack. While police believe Masood worked alone, they are seeking as much information about him as possible, including what or who he might have messaged through WhatsApp. While the police know Masood opened WhatsApp before the attacks, it is unknown whether or not he sent or received any messages.

In a statement, WhatsApp itself said that it was "horrified" by the events in London and would be "cooperating with law enforcement" as events proceed. The situation in the United Kingdom has already drawn parallels to the Apple-FBI dispute that lasted a few months last year, with Rudd directly mentioning Apple CEO Tim Cook at one point in an interview with the BBC.
Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple which also uses end-to-end encryption, has previously said it would be "wrong" for governments to force Apple to "build a back door" into products. But Ms Rudd said: "I would ask Tim Cook to think again about other ways of helping us work out how we can get into the situations like WhatsApp on the Apple phone."
Apple, and those that side with the company, argued last year that it would be a slippery slope to place a backdoor into iOS for the sole purpose of assisting the government in its anti-terrorism measures. The company said that a "master key" would be able to get information from any iPad and iPhone, despite the FBI saying that all it wanted was key information from the iPhone 5c at the center of the debate.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: UK Government Seeking Access to Encrypted Messaging Apps in Wake of London Attack
 
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Macs4u

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Apr 19, 2008
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Stoke on Trent
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
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For every terrorist group using these apps there are underground groups of people who are persecuted by a government. Giving the keys to the kingdom might sound good in this situation but, in the end, it usually ends up being a tool of oppressive regimes. Plus, terrorists could easily create their own secure end-to-end systems in this day and age so it's a bit of a dog and pony show.
 

gixxerfool

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
1,065
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Who is to say they aren't going to use other methods of communication? These requests always reek of government control over the populace. The government relies so heavily on tech to help them track people, it's likely easier to fall off the grid more now than ever.
 

Chatter

macrumors 6502a
Jun 10, 2013
724
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Uphill from Downtown
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
I assume this post is in jest?
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,871
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This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???
Unfortunately, any back door -- even if only Tim Cook has it -- decreases the overall security of a system. It always creates secondary side-effects that break the security of a system. You can't have it both ways: secure system and a convenient way to break the security when desired.
 

LERsince1991

macrumors 65816
Jul 24, 2008
1,245
37
UK
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
That's just not going to work;
- Tim Cook does not have time, this is more than a full time job for one person let alone the CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world.
- there's no guarantee that 'his' key/access method could not be replicated by hackers or terrorists who could access anyone's information.
- Currently no one has the power to access this information, even government agencies, yet you want to give the power to public commercial company owned by its shareholders.

It's a very difficult issue to solve, there is either no access to anyone I.e highly secure, or access to anyone with the resources I.e secure enough in most day to day situations but open to 'specialists', be that agencies, companies or hackers working for the highest bidder.
 

ibookg409

Suspended
Apr 20, 2016
613
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Portsmouth, NH
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
Tim Cook doesn't mind when Radical Islamists destroy and terrorize. He will protect their privacy and has nothing to say on the subject. However, if you want to keep Men in the mens room and women in the womens room he will give the FBI, CIA, NSA, whomever all your passwords and encrypted data.

He is a man of integrity.
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,298
Amber , he was on your file....no amount of access is going to counter incompetence .

Even if you had access to his WhatsApp you would have done nothing as you deemed him not a threat.
[doublepost=1490617456][/doublepost]Anyway this is all a mute point , until last week we thought macs were secure , now seems only post 2013.... privacy / security is an illusion
 
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darkpaw

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
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Another clueless MP. Encryption is important for privacy and secure communication (https, banking, government work etc.). Even government contracts mandate encryption of data with third-party companies. It's been said a billion times before, but a master key for one is a master key for all. There would be no security and no privacy if this were to go ahead.

Encryption keeps us and our data safe and secure, and helps us to keep our right to privacy.

Really bad people will just switch to a different app or system if they can't use WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram etc. But really good people will also switch because they don't want to give up their right to privacy.
 

stridemat

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2008
11,218
647
UK
So would The Right Honourable Amber Rudd like to provide unfettered access to her personal communications / banking / emails? I doubt it.

Of course, such a rule would make sure to keep MP's exempt.

---

I'm of the conservative mindset through and through, but the sooner the older generations of MP's vacate office the better. Give the younger generations who seemingly understand these things a chance.
 

canadianreader

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2014
554
1,115
This will never fix the problem you have tackle the IDEOLOGY behind these attacks because there is one... unless this attack is a false flag and an alibi to spy on the subjects of her royal highness.
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
10,959
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Central U.S.
Rudd's next step is summoning leaders of various technology companies to a meeting with the UK government on March 30 "to discuss what to do."
What should we do? Well we should clearly let the terrorists win by removing personal freedoms and privacy in a reactionary, thoughtless manner!
The home secretary mentioned that the government would be willing to pass completely new legislation focusing on encrypted messaging and mobile apps if the talks this Thursday don't go her way.
Good to know she is at least open minded about possible solutions before meeting with these companies.

Rudd referred to WhatsApp, and similar apps, as potential "secret places" for terrorists to hide.
Let's be real here. This sort of attack doesn't require any sort of outside coordination. Even if it did, by removing encryption for all users, you just make them less safe and the criminals/terrlorists will be the only ones with encrypted communication. Someone needs to explain to this lady that it's pretty easy to root a device and install whatever sort of encrypted messaging software you can find freely available online.

You see, terrorists will always find a way. The average person will not—but let's not kid ourselves here. She knows exactly what she is doing. They want to limit personal privacy because people who can be easily spied on can be easily controlled. This is all about control and absolute power over the people and nothing at all to do with preventing terrorism. They wait until an attack so they can pull at people's heart strings and get them to give up freedoms and not revolt. Don't get me wrong, what happened was awful and I feel for the families. But we must stand united against opportunistic tyrants such as these. Don't bat an eye and never back down. This is the time when we must stand firm. Educate yourself, spread the word, and understand that it takes each one of us standing together to make a difference.
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,343
13,698
In between a rock and a hard place
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
Your idea is simple because it's simple (the negative connotation of simple). If Apple was to do as you suggested, do you know what Cooks job would be? Full time back door opener from an unending stream of requests from governments around the world. To think that every request would be legitimate is... simply simple (same negative connotation).

To put it into better perspective, imagine Cook trying to execute your hypothetical dealing with this volume: http://images.apple.com/legal/privacy/transparency/requests-2015-H2-en.pdf
Now imagine these countries know a back door exists. Those requests would be exponentially higher.

And as always, security with a back door is not security.
 

NoNothing

macrumors 6502
Aug 9, 2003
449
485
This is so simple to solve yet these "elite" have no idea. Shall I suggest a solution???

Tim Cook has a way to access any iPhone, iPad or mac with a hidden way. He has a way to drop everything that's been done to a memory card. Anything like this happens, the country goes to Apple and on camera opens the product with a few witnesses from the general public and once they have the info needed, Tim Cook signs out and it's back to secure.

It isn't the back door that people fear, it's he back door open to every agency in the world, most of which they don't trust.
So Tim Cook dies. All phones are not accessible. So you keep a copy of the magic key out of wonderland in a second place. It will be stollen and now all phones are vulnerable.

Your "so easy" idea simply won't work. This is about REAL privacy and security VS a false sense of security.
 

canadianreader

macrumors 6502a
Sep 24, 2014
554
1,115
Tim Cook doesn't mind when Radical Islamists destroy and terrorize. He will protect their privacy and has nothing to say on the subject. However, if you want to keep Men in the mens room and women in the womens room he will give the FBI, CIA, NSA, whomever all your passwords and encrypted data.

He is a man of integrity.
The problem is not Tim Cook. Terrorism gives governments legitimacy to spy on honest people and collect information and it's been that way since 9/11 it is always easier to attempt to control people when they are afraid or living in a state of fear.
 

ibookg409

Suspended
Apr 20, 2016
613
7,555
Portsmouth, NH
The problem is not Tim Cook. Terrorism gives governments legitimacy to spy on honest people and collect information and it's been that way since 9/11 it is always easier to attempt to control people when they are afraid or living in a state of fear.
If you want your privacy protested then empower your government to deal with these terrorists the only way that will be effective.

 
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