UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption

Sean Lynch seanl at
Thu Jul 21 10:00:41 PDT 2016

On Sat, Jul 16, 2016 at 4:03 AM Zenaan Harkness <zen at> wrote:

> On Sat, Jul 16, 2016 at 11:28:49AM +0300, Georgi Guninski wrote:
> > Hope this is not duplicate, the personal drivels were quite
> > noisy.
> >
> >
> >
> > > UK gov says new Home Sec will have powers to ban end-to-end encryption
> >
> > Very sound, nice and democratic...
> So we have various countries banning end to end encryption - Russia,
> possibly China?, now the UK ... what is stopping America from doing so?

It's not entirely clear that it's even legal in the US to force
backdoors/key escrow/etc. And even if it is, the USG seems to prefer more
subtle means of control. Forcing key escrow or backdoors is something of a
sledgehammer, and it gets a LOT of attention from civil libertarians.

Also, I think Apple has had a hand in keeping it from happening. They have
a lot of influence (read: money to pay for lobbyists and donate to
political campaigns), and their whole business model is built on not having
access to your data, to distinguish themselves from Google, which gets a
large fraction of its income from serving targeted ads. Facebook and Google
are starting to do end-to-end, but both companies seem a bit more hesitant
about it. I suspect WhatsApp did it in part to hold Facebook to their word
that they would never scan private messages for ad targeting purposes, and
FB Messenger end-to-end is opt-in AIUI. But even if a ban on end-to-end
might slightly benefit each company by giving them an excuse for retaining
access, the USG seems to prefer key escrow, which doesn't benefit them at
all while creating an additional cost.

Personally I'm a bit conflicted over the whole thing. Pragmatically, not
morally. A ban on end-to-end or even forced key escrow would push the more
idealistic people to start working on and using better open source
solutions. One should not trust any crypto that can be turned off silently
with a remote flag flip.

> The Zimmerman (PGP) case?
> The CIA's need/use/funding for Tor, and their need for many "average
> Joes" to use it also, for it to work?
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