UK Investigatory Powers bill threatens end-to-end encryption

There is a lot of reckless endangerment in the recently published draft UK surveillance legislation, here’s what a few technology companies are getting worried about:

Major technology firms are concerned that the British government is
attempting to ban strong encryption with the Investigatory Powers Bill,
despite its assurances to the contrary.

A number of companies, both large and small, have expressed their
fears to the Guardian that one particular clause of the proposed
legislation gives the government the power to force them to weaken their
systems, in order to enable the bulk collection aspects of the bill.

Section 189 of the bill, titled “Maintenance of technical
capability”, allows the secretary of state to issue orders to companies
“relating to the removal of electronic protection applied … to any
communications or data”.

The only limits on the power of the Secretary of State to do so are a
requirement that they consult with an advisory board beforehand, and
that any specific obligation must be “reasonable” and “practicable”. The
technical capability notice can even be issued to people outside the
UK, and require them to do, or not to do, things outside the UK.

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Weren’t you claiming after that court ruling how privacy in the EU & UK will be better protected?

Who could have known that it was all about monopolizing the right to steal citizens’ data.


Yes, these are opposing forces. SAFE network is another. The world is complicated, not black and white. The EU Ruling has an impact but no-one knows how all these forces will play out. I don’t claim to predict the future, but I can read a court judgement and commentaries and reach an opinion and share it. I don’t present such things as fact, or pretend to know the future.

That’s hardly a surprise now is it.

In the UK we have the most far right government I could name, and very little awareness or dissent about many of the ways they are pushing us towards a totalitarian state. Certainly in this arena, the population seem comatose. There are rumblings around other areas, but that’s a separate topic. With regard to surveillance there is very little pushback in the UK, which makes the EU ruling all the more important. It can’t overrule “national security” measures, but it can make it more difficult, politically at least. And if the UK becomes isolated politically over this, or if our technology industry is threatened, that can help push back too.

As I said, its a complex issue, and too important to for point scoring or snarkiness.


My understanding was that the SAFE network, because it is autonomous and has no corporate structure to threaten, wouldn’t have the same points of failure that a company using encryption would have. Am I incorrect here?



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How are you arriving at such a strong no? I was assuming a government could force Apple (for example) to give it a backdoor by threatening their board with fines and jail time. Who do you go after with an open source project like the SAFE network?

that’s why

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I doubt being open source would protect MaidSafe Limited from being “required” to do something with software that they create and upload to the internet. However, it would be very difficult to do this without the community noticing what has changed (impossible really - so hardly worth trying). But even if they did, I am sure David and co have thought about this and similar threats. Its not hard to imagine ways to deal with it (several companies relocated before the draft bill was out just based on the political rhetoric), but I think it would be daft for them to be revealed. Let them try and get the bill into law, then lets see what they try to do with it.


In the UK we have the most far right government

Left government. Far right means no government. Far left means totalitarian government. This is the ‘politically incorrect’ accuracy for political spectrum.


I’m not sure if these are cultural / geographical distinctions, but I regard fascism as totalitarian and far right. But let’s not quibble about terminology, you are welcome to yours, while it is correct in the UK to talk of the current conservative government as right-wing, and IMO the most right wing government we’ve ever had.

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Meanwhile NSA mass surveillance in the US just hit a large bump in the road:

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That’s not true. Despite the National Socialist moniker the Nazis were far right. They are the definition of far right and their tendencies and impulses inform the right what ever flavor. Conservatism isn’t light on government its light on your rights. Under true conservatism you become property. The absolute core belief of conservatism is some are better than others and the others were born to serve their betters and are their property. Now there were people like Burke who wanted less rules but generally true conservatism is about putting the pyramid before all else.

It seems its up to Corbyn and the leftests to cancel the conservative police state the neocon neoliberal Blairites set up.

BTW @anon81773980 & @Warren Let’s not make this a topic for discussion political terminology. You know how to continue that if it is your wish :smile:


My point was it’s a very different proposition requiring an amorphous bunch of people (SAFE pods:) worldwide to obey as opposed to a company with a CEO, shareholders etc. No great epiphany… just sayin really.

This does bring things back to how updates/improvements to the core are implemented/voted for (akin to bitcoin requiring >50% share of miners to approve new code)… is there any news/info on this as I don’t think I’m all that knowledgable here?

I’ve been following for more than a year now and heard of various features SAFE has for this, the two most important being:

  1. it’s open source so multiple networks can and will exist so it’s survival of the fittest

  2. SAFE has a very cool futuristic-sounding feature that automatically creates a new test-node and tests out proposed code updates on it, and only accepts new updates that are at least as efficient or more efficient than its current code

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Good luck with that :wink:

If the UK government goes ahead then I can see any major players who do not wish to downgrade their encryption closing their UK offices. The UK has no rights to force overseas companies to comply. Lets face it Google closed their Chinese offices over demands from the government there.

Would Apple degrade their encryption for the UK government? Would non UK based VPN companies downgrade their encryption for the UK government?

SAFE is open source stored on GitHub a non UK company, so they might require MAFESAFE company to comply, but they could then simply fork the code and make the changes to the fork and no one uses that fork. Or simply move their company to another country (but not the staff) :smile:

The UK government seems to have forgotten that the British empire does not encompass the world anymore and never controlled every country anyhow.

EDIT: and what is to stop the people in the UK using “strong” encryption of the internet? They could just migrate to non-UK company’s sites.

Also backdoor banking encryption - what a joke this is, crackers dream.

In fact it does if they do business in the UK (even if that particular venture isn’t in the UK) or if it’s managed by UK citizens.

@neo, the above applies since the left wing fascist government of Tony Blair (see overseas corruption law).
HB here fails to see how there’s no “right wing” or any other wing. There’s the government and sheeple.
“A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.”

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Which is why I opened with those closing their UK offices. Its pretty obvious if they have an office in the UK then they must comply with UK law/rulings when dealing with the UK marketplace.

But there is forking! We ban all forking, anything that sounds like it and all technological progress. In fact we order you back to the stone age!

Feels like its already a new arms race cold war trying to errupt. Maybe it is the SI stuff. Maybe some Manhattan project types told some statest there is a way to build unbeliveable God like power but you must not let your enemies get it first! Its a political atom bomb. And they got their unified field theory and sequenced their genomes and this is what is next on the agenda. Plus its got some terrible sex appeal because if there was something worse than an in place nuclear dooms day machine or way to win a nuke war it would be building a potentially malevolent invincible over lord.

I think people like Hawking expressed fear over mere AI recently because they got wind of super foolish state projects to build SI and this jack ass low grade cyber war spy out in the open on your own citizens instistance is them trying to follow the logic and the first salvo. We may now be in a racec to build something worse than nuclear weapons.

In the US they waste close to a trillion a year on defense. They go on about total info awareness and prisms and have all seeing eye logos, They buy data as power. They’ve been dreaming of sky scraper sized computers since Vanyver Bush. They’ve been into mind control since the beginning of history and certainly since MK Ultra. They haven’t become more moral or ethical as Cheney demostrated. They are probably being mind controlled right now by some alien sub space SI into building it a local node.

Saw the blue lights in the sky a few days ago? Well building a comparatively infant SI might give us a chance at countering mature alien SI… and other defense fueling nonsense. An SI sounds like a nuke that you can’t ‘test’ because if it works its like a nuke that never stops exploding, a perpetual nuke. Read Nick Bostrom’s book to understand how irresistible this story and logic would be for statists. We might be one hundred years away but the idea is a political black hole fueled by PR stunts like the Watson demonstration. They will have to spy on us to make sure we don’t get the overlord first or don’t unleash the wrong version.

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I agree and indeed super computers and AI are the new arms race. They will all develop AI eventually and it will be certainly interesting to watch.

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