There has been a stand-off between the UK government and tech firms over a clause in the Online Safety Bill relating to encrypted messages.
A new statement concedes that the tech to access messaging without breaking security protocols does not exist. The government announced it in the House of Lords this afternoon, but it denied its position had changed.
But Matthew Hodgkinson, who runs the British-based messaging platform Elements, said the latest version of the bill was “kicking the can down the road”.
“All ‘until it’s technically feasible’ means is opening the door to scanning in future rather than scanning today,” he said.
Another view is that this is an attempt at a last-minute diplomatic resolution in which neither the tech firms nor the government lose face: the government says it knew all along that the tech did not exist and removes immediate pressure from the tech firms to invent it, and the tech firms claim a victory for privacy.
The UK government’s current admission that encryption-breaking technology does not exist can be seen as a short-term victory for privacy. However, it is essential to remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding privacy rights in the long term by advocating for strong legal protections, technological advancements in encryption, and public awareness of the importance of privacy in the digital age. I do believe rightfully, or wrongfully, the UK government will try again. Even Matthew Hodgkinson said.
"The latest version of the bill was “kicking the can down the road”
I think it’s important that British residents and citizens remember the names of the MPs that let this stuff happen and encourage it so that they know who not to vote for. It’s a common tactic to create noise over relatively trivial issues and polarise everyone while they encourage and pass draconian laws that fuck everyone over.
Fuck Suella Braverman.
Fuck Tom Tugendhat.
Fuck the home office in general.
Even if you don’t live in the UK, politicians in your home country are probably also passing similar laws which just don’t generate enough attention.