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UK govt planning to ban encryption, leaked document shows

Amber Rudd
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The UK government is secretly planning to ban encryption.

According to a leaked document, the government is planning to force technology businesses to build backdoors into their products, in an attempt to allow its intelligence agencies to access civilians’ private data and messages.

Leaked by the Open Rights Group, the document features somewhat extreme new surveillance plans, which would allow the government to spy on approximately 6,500 people at any given time.

UK terrorism watchdog criticises govt plans to fine tech firms over extremist content

The document compels internet providers to remove encryption: “To provide and maintain the capability to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator to the communications or data, or to permit the person to whom the warrant is addressed to remove such electronic protection.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd made headlines in March after she urged popular messaging service Whatsapp to enable government agencies to read its users’ encrypted messages in the aftermath of the Westminster terror attack.

Technology firms have historically opposed the removal of encryption, largely used to safeguard users’ data from hackers and cybercriminals.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has even gone as far as saying backdoors, built to break encryption, are “the software equivalent of cancer”.

The proposals would need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before being signed into law.

The news also comes after the Investigatory Powers Act, a controversial piece of legislation largely championed by PM Theresa May was signed into law last year.

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