What you need to know
- UK intelligence agency MI5 has called for "exceptional access" to encrypted messages.
- Sir Andrew Parker said it was "increasingly mystifying" that intelligence agencies are not able to easily read secret messages.
- He thinks tech companies should investigate providing end-to-end encryption whilst also giving access when there is a compelling case to do so.
The director general of MI5 has called on technology companies to give spy agencies 'exceptional access' to encrypted messages.
As reported by The Guardian:
Parker claims that cyberspace has become "a wild west, unregulated, inaccessible to authorities". Parker did not mention any company by name, however, the report claims that sources believe Facebook's encryption plans are of particular concern, due to its massive user base and popularity.
Parker said tech firms should "use the brilliant technologists you've got" to find out "Can you provide end-to-end encryption but on an exceptional basis – exceptional basis – where there is a legal warrant and a compelling case to do it, provide access to stop the most serious forms of harm happening?"
The calls echo the sentiment from US agencies who have called for assistance in accessing encrypted messages and devices, notably in the case of the Pensacola airbase shooter, whose two iPhones remain locked despite calls from the FBI that Apple should assist in unlocking them.
According to the report, a spokesperson for Privacy International said:
In his interview, Parker admitted that it was not possible to stop every terrorist plot and that it was impossible for MI5 to monitor all of the people on its database all of the time.
The calls could reignite global conversations about encryption, and whether governments and security agencies should be able to access encrypted data, and whether or not that's even possible.
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As soon as an agency like this one is able to easily access end-to-end encrypted communication, such encryption loses its meaning. It becomes a "wild west" with cartels.
100% that's why its call encryption government.
Let's open the flood gates and see what happens. NOT.
He's "mystified" as to why he can't read "secret" messages? Sounds like they need someone who's not an idiot in charge. Though, to paraphrase Jello Biafra, I'm not sure whether I'd rather have a dumb **** or a smart **** in charge... Wow, that's some political correctness...
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