THE GOVERNMENT'S LATEST TECHNOLOGY EXPERT, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, is meeting with technology companies on Thursday to try and work out what the heck can be done about lone lunatics with WhatsApp accounts.
Rudd this week went on telly to confuse herself about what hashtags are and demand that technology companies like WhatsApp insert backdoors with the kind of enthusiasm that MPs submit expense reports.
She, like other political technology experts before her, came across as a bit of a wally as she fumbled her way through the interview and the situation. It would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall during the meeting of minds today but really that would be incredibly inappropriate given the circumstances.
We are not keen on the whole thing, to be honest, but the Open Rights Group and pals including Reporters without Borders, really ain't having it and wants a lot more clarity on what the heck this is all about, how it came to be so quickly, and what sort of things will be discussed.
It is easy to forget that the government works for us, particularly at times like this, so we support the ORG in this. It has written to Rudd for answers, and hopefully it didn't seal the envelope because that would not endear them to her.
What they all want is some insight and some oversight. For example: "The Government wants companies to take down online extremist content that they believe radicalises individuals to carry out acts terrorism. Transparency and judicial oversight should be required for government takedown requests."
This all sounds very familiar. This push me pull you thing over encryption is something that governments cannot drop despite apparently having no perception of what it all means.
"Amber Rudd's comments on encryption are yet another example of this government sacrificing freedom of expression, the right to privacy, and other human rights in the name of security, and contribute to a very worrying trend of increasing attacks on press freedom in the UK in recent months," said Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Director, Reporters Without Borders.
"The ability to communicate securely is essential for investigative journalists, their sources, and whistleblowers. Eliminating encryption tools likes WhatsApp would have a broad chilling effect, and would serve as another damaging blow to investigative journalism in the UK."
As an aside, Amber Rudd has not tweeted about the meeting. However, the last message that she has posted is one that is encrypted in the French language. She really needs to start eating her own dog food if she wants to be taken seriously. µ
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