Internet Society condemns UK anti-encryption campaign • The Register

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Britain’s controversial online safety bill will make Britons more vulnerable than ever to online harm, the Internet Society says, while data from other countries suggests surveillance is not generally used to target people. online child abusers, although this is a key justification cited for linking the measures.

Government efforts to paint end-to-end encryption as an evil that must be engineered from the internet as it exists today will lead to increased “online fraud and harm”, the government said. Internet Society this week.

Founded by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, the Internet Society is one of the oldest and most respected institutions guiding the path of the public Internet today. His cry against the draconian Online Safety Bill (aka Online Harms Bill) should make policymakers sit up and pay attention.

Robin Wilton, director of internet trust for the company, said in a statement: “Today, encryption is a critical part of digitally connected objects like cars, doorbells, home security cameras and even computers. children’s toys, otherwise known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT).It is also essential for national security by protecting highly sensitive systems like the power grid, citizen databases and financial institutions such than the stock market.”

The government has been explicit about its desire to ban end-to-end encryption, co-opting willing and enthusiastic police forces into a public campaign demonizing safety and security technology.

Wilton of the Internet Society denied these calls, saying: “Despite having access to the world’s greatest expertise in cryptography, the government has been unable to come up with a credible and secure backdoor that meets their requirements because it doesn’t exist. Instead, the government is trying to get companies to design insecurity by default.”

Citing government publicity around the Online Harms Bill, he added: “This is not the way to ‘reap the benefits of a free, open and secure internet’, this is a recipe. for online fraud and damage”.

“It prevents spies, terrorists and hostile governments from accessing and exploiting the confidential communications of government officials, and protects highly sensitive systems intrinsically linked to national security, including the power grid, databases and financial institutions, against hacking,” he concluded.

Who is the government really most eager to monitor? drug dealers

Meanwhile, other figures have emerged tending to show that online surveillance tends to be used by Western governments against drug gangs rather than child abusers, despite the security bill in online and police campaigns claiming that end-to-end encryption (E2EE) will turn social media into a pedophile paradise.

Encrypted messaging company Tutanota, headquartered in Germany, published research this week suggesting that surveillance orders are being rolled out to primarily target drug-using offenders.

“Most of the orders issued to telecom providers are related to drug offenses,” Tutanota said. The register. Reviewing published data, the company said that about 80% of wiretap orders granted in the United States, one of the most heavily surveilled Western countries, were for drug-related crimes.

“In recent years, child sexual abuse and child pornography have played only a marginal role in telecommunications surveillance in practice,” blogged Matthias Pfau, founder of Tutanota.

The same was true in Germany, where a specifically disaggregated category of warrants granted for child abuse image offenses accounted for just 0.2% of surveillance applications for 2019 – having remained at that insignificant level for 10 years.

In Australia, the situation was only slightly different, with warrants granted under that country’s Telecommunications Access Act 1979 being 50% drug-focused: in 2020, surveillance of image perpetrators child abuse cases accounted for just 0.4% of claims, Tutanota said. .

“The UK Home Office unfortunately does not provide figures on this,” Pfau added, but there is little reason to assume that the UK is significantly different from its sister democracies.

The Online Harms Bill continues its parliamentary journey. ®

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