British Home Secretary wants to ban encryption

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Encryption_Decryption_DiagramBritish Home Secretary Amber Rudd wants to ban encryption – well basically – for she demands that the security services and police be given access to the encryption WhatsApp and other secure messaging services. Calls have been made already a while ago to outlaw the use and possession of the Web- and desktop based Telegram messaging service which also end-to-end encrypts messages. Only WhatsApp is much more popular for sure as it is on so many smartphones and used by so many people daily, and not just by those with ill intent.

It has to be said that the British Home Secretary is not the only interior minister who wants to do this. In other countries similar moves are afoot such as in Germany as regards to Facebook and other social media. It was also the EU who was wanting to make the possession and use of “Telegram” illegal, in the same way that the governments want to outlaw email encryption – such as PGP – altogether. Apparently, if you are not up to anything illegal you can't have anything to hide, is their argument. In light of certain countries now giving green light to all our email data and even content being sold to advertising agencies and such like I am sure we all have something to hide or at least would like some of our more personal email exchanges and such to be kept private, as well as other details.

If the powers-that-be – which really should not be – insist that they have the right to be snooping on everything it is high time that the people turned the tables on them.

Thus, maybe, we will have to devise our own codes again, like in the days of old, such as the book cypher or phrase cypher.

Phrase cypher are “innocent” phrases and sentences that have a meaning only to the sender and the recipient and can be hidden in almost any text – as long as it makes sense – such as “Aunt Betty has a new hen”, “the post may be a little late today”, etc.

I am very well aware that this approach would be considered by the powers-that-be probably as illegal but they would have to know first what really is going on.

Also the demand to be given access to encrypted messages of apps and such like is but the first step on the ladder of being able to read all emails and ordinary letter, have no doubt about it. Already the British government and a number of other EU ones and that of the USA demand to get that right, namely to read all of our emails without the need for a warrant.

In the US the postal service has for years already been routinely copying the recipient and sender from letters and packages, and that not just from mail coming from outside the US.

In light of the above we have to question as to whether – in fact – a more or less routine general breach of the postal secrecy law is in operation and if not many letters are already being opened (or read in some other way that we do not know about).

Do you know why envelopes have, or at least used to have, a very strange pattered interior lining? That lining is intended to make it more or less impossible to read the contents, or at least part of the contents, of a letter without actually opening it. Just a little snippet of trivia here.

For the moment, at least in the majority of countries, letters sent via a postal network, that is to say “snail mail”, is still safe as, theoretically, and I do stress the word theoretically, an individual warrant is required for the authorities to intercept and read our letters. The “for the moment” will also have to be stressed very severely here.

Therefore it may really be the time that we considered devising our own codes and cyphers that can be hidden in ordinary letters, emails and even messages on whatever kind of service, without the “enemy” realizing that a cypher is being used. But all intended recipients then have to be on the same page and sing from the same hymn sheet.

© 2017