MI5 to Google and Whatsapp, hand me your messages

Pierluigi Paganini May 29, 2015

The Conservatives are planning new laws to give MI5 the power to force IT giants to hand over encrypted messages from terror suspects.

Potential global terrorism threats are persuading to Conservatives in UK to move the pieces of chess by law; in advance of the world’s biggest internet companies, such as Google, Apple and Facebook towards to hand over encrypted messages from terror suspects.

“The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the security agency, is increasingly concerned by the levels of encryption on apps like Whatsapp.“ reported The Telegraph.

GCHQ and MI5

Today, security and intelligence agencies are convinced to update their capabilities on encryption facilities to hurry-up on the tremendous advance of apps applications in the Internet. The commitment of new laws and a new “Investigatory Powers Bill” are facilitated to support processes of investigation and surveillance from MI5, MI6 and GCHQ in UK. Therefore, the Home Secretary is looking to revive the so-called “snoopers charter” announced previously in the Queen’s Speech. Nonetheless, conservative’ efforts through legislation proposal were blocked by Coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.

In fact, this political scenario obligates to the British Government to “address ongoing capability gaps” that are currently forming a big shadows on security services to success on combating terrorism, pedophile and any other criminal activities.

Surveillance vs. privacy turns around different political and social concerns at today’s global conflict between government and Internet companies. There is no reason for intelligence agencies to assume a risk without any information to alert of critical “targets” on the communications of terrorist or suspects under investigation.

How to get a balance in cyberspace after Snowden’s revelations? Maybe there is a tricky advantage for internet companies to overwhelm a transparent and safe cooperation, by the way, to guarantee the interest of the government on current mass surveillance and “espionage”.

“Security services are increasingly concerned by the high levels of encryption on smartphone apps.“ stated The Telegraph.

Adequate mechanisms of legislation in the Internet are part of a prominent transformation of cyberspace in the UK, in order to satisfy day-to-day of the government, internet companies, and civil society. If the conflict has started for misunderstanding roles on surveillance and privacy, it remains to work for actors on best practices and recommendations to Chair-Committee on parliamentary intelligence and security.

Finally, Emergency legislation for EU directive must be aligned to UK entire existing surveillance legal framework within a single act of parliament. However, expectations of changes in UK’s legislation for 2016, are on-going to be confirmed how much closer is the gap in surveillance powers after the government and internet companies have been precise importance to get a balance or statutory footing.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – intelligence)

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