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Author Topic: Governments Call on Tech Giants to Build Encryption Backdoors -- Or Else  (Read 175 times)
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September 06, 2018, 03:25:31 AM

A pact of five nation states dedicated to a global “collect it all” surveillance mission has issued a memo calling on their governments to demand tech companies build backdoor access to their users’ encrypted data — or face measures to force companies to comply.

The international pact — the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, known as the so-called “Five Eyes” group of nations — quietly issued the memo last week demanding that providers “create customized solutions, tailored to their individual system architectures that are capable of meeting lawful access requirements.”

This kind of backdoor access would allow each government access to encrypted call and message data on their citizens. If the companies don’t voluntarily allow access, the nations threatened to push through new legislation that would compel their help.

“Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions,” read the memo, issued by the Australian government on behalf of the pact.

It’s the latest move in an ongoing aggression by the group of governments, which met in Australia last week.

The Five Eyes pact was born to collect and share intelligence across the five countries, using each nations’ diplomatic power and strategic locations as chokepoints to gather the rest of the world’s communications.

Since the Edward Snowden disclosures in 2013, tech companies have doubled down on their efforts to shut out government’s lawful access to data with encryption. By using end-to-end encryption — where the data is scrambled from one device to another — even the tech companies can’t read their users’ messages.

Without access, law enforcement has extensively lobbied against companies using end-to-end encryption, claiming it hinders criminal investigations.

Security researchers and other critics of encryption backdoors have long said there’s no mathematical or workable way to create a “secure backdoor” that isn’t also susceptible to attack by hackers, and widely derided any backdoor effort.

In 2016, rhetoric turned to action when the FBI launched a lawsuit to force Apple to force the company to build a tool to bypass the encryption in an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter, who killed 14 people in a terrorist attack months earlier.

The FBI dropped the case after it found hackers able to break into the phone.

But last month, the US government renewed its effort to set legal precedent by targeting Facebook  Messenger’s end-to-end encryption. The case, filed under sealed, aims to break the encryption on the messaging app to wiretap conversations on suspected criminals.

It’s not the first time the Five Eyes nations have called for encryption backdoors. An Australian government memo last year called for action against unbreakable encryption.

Although the UK’s more recent intelligence laws have been interpreted as allowing the government to compel companies to break their own encryption, wider legal efforts across the other member states have failed to pass.


This is the type of news story which could definitely benefit from greater exposure.   Smiley

I'm not certain if crypto currencies will be affected by these political agendas aimed at weakening encryption standards. If financial institutions have been targeted by this political movement, its not something that has been publicized much.

Such anti encryption measures could weaken security measures on smart phones, desktops, laptops and other hardware utilized to conduct financial transactions or conduct business. Although crypto currencies may not be directly targeted by this, it is possible thieves and criminals could utilize the type of backdoors governments demand to steal bitcoins and other electronic tokens.

There could be cause for concern over these measures.

thats it, goodbye anonymity, these acts of the govt will destroy the very essence of anonymity in bitcoin, that is why bitcoin was embraced by the people , because common people are sick and tired of being monopolized by any govt who suppress their financial freedom, and rights to earn and control their own money, if ever this will happen and comes to reality, which obviously any govt can, will bring us back to being monopolized, and enjoying our individual freedom on our money. not all people in bitcoin who took advantage of the anonymity are engaged in lawlessness, most users are here to earn and saved from being a milking cow by their own economy.

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September 06, 2018, 05:24:04 AM

The tech giants are against this though right? I remember the issue with FBI planning to sue Apple because they refused to help them unlock some shooter's phone. The FBI ended up not suing because they apparently found a third party that unlocked the phone for them. Google also issued a statement condemning the push for backdoors I believe.

This is concerning though, and I hope whichever companies comply with this get exposed somehow.

I don't think this affects crypto very much as it's targeted towards surveillance, not necessarily for breaking into devices. People should be safe for as long as they don't share private keys over messaging software even if hackers somehow exploit these backdoors.

Some of my back up data are sent via messaging apps. If someone hacks those files I am doomed. I was just thinking to scatter it to the internet where I and my family could open it. I will certainly delete those files, and just use a bunch of pieces of papers to write it down and put it in safe keeping. What are the governments thinking these days, they are merely making lots of ways to stop crypto from being bigger.

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September 11, 2018, 11:38:41 PM

It seems to be unclear what the implications are on bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies (perhaps desktop wallets could be affected?), but if it does happen, then will have huge implications on privacy and just security of data in general.

It'll be interesting to see what the tech companies respond with when they well know that it's going to be a huge breach of privacy principles, and will essentially potentially allow hackers to use the same backdoors to breach into systems.

Obviously, if these companies do not respond positively to these requests, it's going to cost them dearly as governments may sanction them for their actions. You're right about having more of this in the news, not many people understand the immenseness of this backdoor situation, if it was ever to come into fruition.

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