UK Home Secretary says "real people" don't care about end-to-end encryption


Rudd is meeting with representatives from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others at a counter-terrorism forum in San Francisco. But it is important to remember that behind these discussions about technology lies our determination to protect people - from being radicalised and from being the victims of a terrorist attack.

Amber Rudd has called on U.S. tech giants to unite in her warning of terrorists using social media platforms to radicalise vulnerable people.

She used the show to strike a more pragmatic and conciliatory tone, as well as to defend the encryption policies of Facebook and WhatsApp.

The internet firms say their forum will look at technical ways to combat online radicalisation and share its research with governments, academics and smaller companies.

"The inability to gain access to encrypted data in specific instances - even with a warrant signed by a secretary of state and a senior judge - is severely limiting our agencies' ability to stop terrorist attacks and bring criminals to justice".

I know some will argue that it's impossible to have both - that if a system is end-to-end encrypted then it's impossible ever to access the communication. Indeed, she has now herself admitted that it is vital for many online facilities, such as online banking and shopping, which people use every day.

"The suggestion that real people do not care about the security of their communications is unsafe and misleading", said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group.

For a long time, people in the tech sector have tried to explain to ministers that demands to ban encryption are deeply unwise. Now, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has argued that "real people" don't care about security features such as end-to-end encryption found in software like WhatsApp. "Some people want privacy from corporations, abusive partners or employers". "Real people", according to the Home Secretary, don't need their communications protected.

"The suggestion that real people do not care about the security of their communications is unsafe and misleading. But the reality is very different".

He added: "Others may be anxious about confidential information, or be working in countries with a record of human rights abuses".

Amber Rudd has said "real people" do not want secure end-to-end encryption on messaging services. She is causing vast confusion because at the moment she sounds like she is asking for the impossible. The fact that they are also now working with other tech companies to share information on such content also suggests that the pressure they are under from the UK Government, and others, is paying off. "She must give the public a good idea of the risks she wants to place them under".