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The former boss of MI5 has warned against weakening encryption
Business Insider UK
by Rob Price
LONDON — The former head of MI5 has warned against weakening encryption in the fight against terrorism.
Speaking to Radio 4, Jonathan Evans said: "I’m not personally one of those who thinks we should weaken encryption because I think there is a parallel issue, which is cybersecurity more broadly." (We first saw his remarks via The Guardian.)
The public comments from Evans, who was director-general at the British spy agency between 2005 and 2013, come after Home Secretary Amber Rudd claimed that "real people" don't need end-to-end encryption in messaging apps, and publicly asked messaging apps like WhatsApp to reconsider using it.
Strong end-to-end encryption involves encoding messages or data so it cannot be read by anyone other than the intended recipient — including the company whose tech encrypts it, or law enforcement with a warrant.
WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, end-to-end encrypts all its messages by default. Messenger, another messaging app from Facebook, offers the security feature as an option (though it's not switched on automatically), as does Apple's iMessage, as well as Allo, a messaging app from Google, and numerous other apps.
Britain says it doesn't plan to ban end-to-end encryption — but wants companies to stop using it
In the wake of multiple terror attack in Britain in 2017, Amber Rudd said that the tech is making it more difficult for authorities to fight terrorism: "The inability to gain access to encrypted data in specific and targeted instances ... is right now severely limiting our agencies' ability to stop terrorist attacks and bring criminals to justice."