This would create a “backdoor” to allow access to any encrypted file including personal conversations, medical records, and banking documents.
In the UK, members of the Don't Spy on Us coalition have also written to the Home Secretary to ask for clarification about provisions in the draft Investigatory Powers Bill. The draft Bill, which is being scrutinised by a parliamentary Joint Committee, currently includes provisions that would allow the Secretary of State to impose obligations on companies that would include the “removal of electronic protection.”
In their letter, the Don't Spy on Us coalition point out that encryption keeps Internet users around the world safe and secure: “Encryption protects billions of people every day against threats, including criminals trying to steal our phones and laptops, cyber criminals trying to defraud us, or foreign intelligence agencies targeting companies' valuable trade secrets... Weakening the general security and privacy of communications systems erodes protections for everyone, and undermines trust in digital services.”
Don't Spy on Us are calling for the UK government to state on the record that they do not intend to undermine digital security.
Director of Don't Spy on Us, Eric King said:
"Technology companies, civil society groups and academics have all sounded the alarm bell about obscure clauses in this bill that could force companies to weaken the security in technologies we all rely on everyday. The US, the Netherlands, and Finland have all made public statements recognising the public importance of strong encryption in recent months. We want a clear unambiguous statement from the Home Secretary that this bill won’t be used to backdoor encryption, to put peoples concern to rest, once and for all."
For further information, contact:
Eric King, Director of Don’t Spy on Us: 07986 860 013
Pam Cowburn, Communications Director, Open Rights Group: 07749785932
[The Don't Spy On Us is a coalition of organisations who defend privacy, free expression and digital rights in the UK and in Europe. Its executive includes Article 19, Big Brother Watch, English PEN, Liberty, Privacy International and Open Rights Group.
The full letter to Home Secretary Theresa May is published here: https://www.dontspyonus.org.uk/blog/2016/01/11/letter-to-home-secretary-calling/
The letter to world leaders was organised by Access Now and is now open to public support: https://www.SecureTheInternet.org]
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