Spooks v tech firms: Crypto wars 2.0

GCHQ: listening in

THOSE who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, the saying goes. This seems to be particularly true in the digital world. Two decades ago America’s National Security Agency developed a special encryption chip for mobile phones, called Clipper, that came with a digital backdoor so spooks and police could listen in. It was meant as a compromise, but abandoned as the NSA and the FBI, at least outwardly, lost the “crypto wars” against a powerful coalition of internet activists and technology companies.Since the underlying conflict—the need to protect online privacy with strong encryption versus the authorities’ need to eavesdrop occasionally—was not resolved, it is now coming back with a vengeance. On November 3rd Robert Hannigan, the new director of GCHQ, Britain’s surveillance agency, accused social networks and other online services of becoming “the command-and-control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals”. The same day Michael Rogers, the NSA’s new head, raised these questions in a speech in Silicon Valley, albeit in a less strident tone.The statements are a reaction to technology firms reinforcing…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/business/21631055-intelligence-agencies-and-tech-firms-have-little-choice-compromise-crypto-wars-20?fsrc=rss|bus

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