The “Five Eyes” alliance along with government representatives for India and Japan, have demanded that technology companies insert “backdoors” in encrypted apps to give LEAs the access they say needed to police online delinquency.
In a statement, the officials of the US, India, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan said that the growth of end-to-end encoded apps that make official oversight impossible — like Signal, Telegram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp — “pose significant challenges to public safety.”
“There is increasing consensus across governments and international institutions that action must be taken,” they said “While encryption is vital and privacy and cyber security must be protected, that should not come at the expense of wholly precluding law enforcement, and the tech industry itself, from being able to act against the most serious illegal content and activity online.”
They demanded tech companies demand “embed the safety of the public in system designs,” providing access to law enforcement “in a readable and usable format.”
It was the sturdiest call yet for programmers to include “backdoor” access to encoded communications programs.
Law enforcement worldwide has whined of the trouble encrypted communications poses to criminal inquiries. But end-to-end encryption also offers defense to all sorts of activities from commercial to political discord.
Pro-privacy supporters say encrypting the resources for law enforcement to access a user’s communications can imperil democracy activists and authorize dictatorial governments.
Pressure has built recently in the US and Europe to compel the creators of encryption apps to provide access to law enforcement.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which supporters for confidentiality on the internet, European countries have moved closer to regulating such apps.