Top Governments Once More Requests Data Encryption Backdoors Author: Ali Raza Last Updated: 13 October 2020 Government officials from Canada, Australia, Japan, India, the UK, New Zealand, and the US have all collectively signed a letter. This letter outlines the dangers of end-to-end encryption, subsequently requesting tech companies to introduce backdoors into these encryptions for the use of law enforcement. Asking For Increased “Public Safety” The seven signatories have all come together to describe end-to-end encryption as something of great danger to public safety. End-to-end encryption allows for private messages to be transmitted between two parties without the government being able to intercept it. These signatories highlighted the dangers it holds to very vulnerable members of today’s society, such as sexually exploited children. As one would imagine, the Internet at large has a lot to say about that, one way or the other. As for those who signed it, the list is an impressive one, indeed: William Barr, US Attorney General, Priti Patel, UK Secretary Of State (Home Department), Andrew Little, New Zealand Justice Minister, Peter Dutton, Australian Home Affairs Minister, Japan, and India’s governments, as well as Bill Blair, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for Canada. Requesting A Backdoor All the signatories in this statement request for the same thing: Tech companies need to develop a backdoor into their platforms so the data passing through their platforms can be viewed. A prime example of this would be conversations done on messenger apps. Furthermore, the statement requests that law enforcement gains access to it wherever “necessary and proportionate.” Further requests are that these companies work alongside the government to design backdoors. As the signatories of the letters stipulate, end-to-end encryption, such as those on Signal or Telegram, makes it hard for the company itself to crack down on illegal content within the platform. Examples were given about this, such as violent crime, child sexual exploitation and abuse, attack planning, and terrorist propaganda. The Same Argument Once More Telegram, in particular, has been accused several times of being the messaging app of choice for ISIS and other terrorist groups. The US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had argued that last October saw more than half of its reports regarding child exploitation just vanish. These concerns aren’t new, however, with governments often citing terrorism and child abuse as key factors to increase mass surveillance, with many signatories already having outlined the dangers in the past. Time will only tell if this attempt will succeed or, more probably, fail.