A letter has been collectively signed by government officials from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, India, and the United States. The letter sheds light on the dangers associated with end-to-end encryption and so, tech companies have been requested to add backdoors into these kinds of encryptions that can be used by law enforcement for security purposes. All seven signatories have come together for describing the great dangers associated with something like end-to-end encryption in regard to public safety. The availability of end-to-end encryption means that two parties can send private messages to each other and the government will not be able to intercept them.
According to these signatories, this is highly dangerous and leaves many individuals of the society vulnerable, such as children who may be sexually exploited. As one would imagine, people all over the world have a lot to say about this move made by the signatories. As far as the people who signed it are concerned, they are some notable individuals, which makes the letter all the more impressive. The signatories of the letter include Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, governments of both India and Japan, the Australian Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, the New Zealand Justice Minister named Andrew Little, the UK Secretary of State (Home Department), Priti Patel and the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr.
The same thing was requested by all the signatories of the letter. They have urged tech companies to incorporate a backdoor into their respective platforms, so it becomes possible to view the data that’s being shared between two parties. An excellent example of this would be the conversations that people have on messenger apps. In addition, the statement also requests that law enforcement be provided access to whatever appears to be ‘necessary and proportionate’. Some other requests that were made in the letter included the tech companies working with the government for designing backdoors.
As stipulated by the signatories of the letter, end-to-end encryption, such as those that are used on Telegram or Signal, can make it difficult for the tech companies themselves to crack down on illegal content shared on the platforms. Some of the examples that are given in this instance referred to child abuse and exploitation, violent crime, terrorist propaganda, and attack planning. In fact, Telegram has particularly been accused a number of times for being the preferred messaging app for ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Last October, it was argued by the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that more than half of their reports relating to child exploitation just simply vanish. However, these concerns are not exactly new ones and governments have been known to cite child abuse and terrorism as key factors for increasing mass surveillance. As a matter of fact, a number of other signatories have also outlined similar dangers in the past. Only time will tell if this recent attempt made by the governments will succeed or will be just another failure in the long run.