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Liberty News

2022: Jan-March

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Experts challenge Govt's anti-encryption campaign...

scaremongering tactics being used to mislead the public and make bogus case for weakening encryption

Link Here 6th February 2022
Full story: Online Safety Bill Draft...UK Government legislates to censor social media
The UK Home Office plans to force technology companies to remove the privacy and security of encrypted services such as WhatsApp and Signal as part of its Online Safety Bill. Even worse, the Home Office has launched a scaremongering campaign wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds on a London advertising agency to undermine public trust in a critical digital security tool to keep people and businesses safe online.

Undermining encryption would make our private communications unsafe, allowing hostile strangers and governments to intercept conversations. Undermining encryption would put at risk the safety of those who need it most. Survivors of abuse or domestic violence, including children, need secure and confidential communications to speak to loved ones and access the information and support they need. As Stephen Bonner, executive director for technology and innovation at the UK Information Commissioner's Office recently noted, end-to-end encryption "strengthens children's online safety by not allowing criminals and abusers to send them harmful content or access their pictures or location." [1]

Operation: Safe Escape [2] and LGBT Tech [3] --two organisations that represent and safeguard vulnerable stakeholders--stress the vital importance of encrypted communications victims of domestic abuse and for LGBTQ+ people in countries where they face harassment, victimisation and even the threat of execution. Far from making them safer, denying at-risk people a confidential lifeline puts them at greater and sometimes mortal risk.

Anti-encryption policies threaten the fundamental human right to freedom of expression. Compromising encryption would undermine investigative journalism that exposes corruption and criminality. According to the Centre for Investigative Journalism, without a secure means of communication, sources would go unprotected and whistleblowers will hesitate to come forward. [4]

Contrary to what the Home Office claims, leading cybersecurity experts conclude that even message scanning "creates serious security and privacy risks for all society while the assistance it can provide for law enforcement is at best problematic." [5] Backdoors create an entry point for hostile states, criminals and terrorists to gain access to highly sensitive information. Weakening encryption negatively impacts the global Internet [6] and means our private messages, sensitive banking information, personal photographs and privacy would be undermined. MI6 head, Richard Moore, used his first public speech to warn of the increased data security threat from hostile countries. [7] By Mr. Moore's analysis, the UK would be making things easier for hostile governments, in waging a war against our personal and national security.

The UK government must reassess their decision to wage war on a technology that is essential to so many people in the UK and beyond.

  • Access Now
  • ACLAC (Latin American and Caribbean Encryption Coalition)
  • Adam Smith Institute
  • Africa Media and Information Technology Initiative (AfriMITI)
  • Alec Muffett, Security Researcher
  • Annie Machon
  • Big Brother Watch
  • Centre for Democracy and Technology
  • Christopher Parsons, Senior Research Associate, Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs & Policy at the University of Toronto
  • Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
  • Cybersecurity Advisors Network (CyAN)
  • Dave Carollo, Product Manager, TunnelBear LLC
  • Derechos Digitales -- Latin America
  • Digital Rights Watch
  • Dr. Duncan Campbell
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Faud Khan, CEO, TwelveDot Incorporated
  • Fundación Karisma
  • Global Partners Digital
  • Glyn Moody
  • Index on Censorship
  • Instituto de Desarrollo Digital de América Latina y el Caribe (IDDLAC)
  • Internet Society
  • Internet Society Brazil Chapter
  • Internet Society Catalonia Chapter
  • Internet Society Germany Chapter
  • Internet Society India Hyderabad
  • Internet Society Portugal Chapter
  • Internet Society Tchad Chapter
  • Internet Society UK England Chapter
  • Internet Freedom Foundation, India
  • JCA-NET (Japan)
  • Jens Finkhaeuser, Interpeer Project
  • Prof. Dr. Kai Rannenberg, Goethe University Frankfurt, Chair of Mobile Business & Multilateral Security
  • Kapil Goyal, Faculty Member, DAV College Amritsar
  • Khalid Durrani, PureVPN
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Löhr, Freie Universität Berlin
  • LGBT Technology Partnership
  • Liberty
  • Luke Robert Mason
  • Mark A. Lane, Cryptologist, UNIX / Software Engineer
  • OpenMedia
  • Open Rights Group
  • Open Technology Institute
  • Peter Tatchell Foundation
  • Privacy & Access Council of Canada
  • Ranking Digital Rights
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Riana Pfefferkorn, Research Scholar, Stanford Internet Observatory
  • Simply Secure
  • Sofía Celi, Latin American Cryptographers.
  • Dr. Sven Herpig, Director for International Cybersecurity Policy, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
  • Tech For Good Asia
  • The Law and Technology Research Institute of Recife (IP.rec)
  • The Tor Project
  • Dr. Vanessa Teague, Australian National University
  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied



Shooting the messenger...

German internet censors get wound up by the encrypted messaging app Telegram

Link Here27th January 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
The German government has recently made it clear that it will impose fines and sanctions on the social messaging app Telegram if it continues to ignore the authorities' requests.

In April 2021, the federal government sent two letters to the social media company, demanding that Telegram appoints a contact person in Germany and make it easier for users to report illicit content. More recently, the German police sent multiple requests to Telegram, to try and get them to comply with the NetzDG censorship law. Telegram has yet to respond to these requests.

Now, politicians in Berlin have made it clear that they plan to get tough with Telegram. Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said: Telegram, like everybody else, has to adhere to our laws.

Technology experts have warned that banning Telegram would be difficult, both technically and constitutionally. On the one hand we are celebrating Telegram's lack of censorship and its importance for democratic movements in Belarus and Iran, and on the other, we are then disabling the service here, said digital journalist Markus Reuter.



A fake campaign...

The Home Office sets up propaganda website opposing end to end encryption whilst pretending it to be a grass roots campaign group

Link Here18th January 2022
Full story: UK Government vs Encryption...Government seeks to restrict peoples use of encryption
The UK Government believes that British people should sacrifice protection against internet scammers, spammers and thieves in the name of being able to scan people's messages looking for child porn.

Perhaps a little like unacceptably asking people not to use door locks so that the police can always drop in to people's homes to check for child abuse.

Now it seems that the government is going to extremes to forward their beliefs by setting up a fake campaign website to pretend that people are calling for the removal of their basic internet security of end to end encryption used in several messaging apps.

Rollin Stone magazine has revealed:

The Home Office has hired the M&C Saatchi advertising agency -- a spin-off of Saatchi and Saatchi, which made the Labour Isn't Working election posters, among the most famous in UK political history -- to plan the campaign, using public funds.

A Home Office spokesperson said in a statement.

We have engaged M&C Saatchi to bring together the many organisations who share our concerns about the impact end-to-end encryption would have on our ability to keep children safe/

In response to a Freedom of Information request about an upcoming ad campaign directed at Facebook's end-to-end encryption proposal, The Home Office disclosed that, Under current plans, £534,000 is allocated for this campaign.

Offsite Comment: Why we need End To End Encryption

...And why it's essential for our safety, our children's safety, and for everyone's future

18th January 2022. See article from by Alec Muffett



Government vs the people...

The German government considers banning Telegram to silence opposition to covid restrictions

Link Here15th January 2022
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
The German government are considering banning the encrypted Telegram messaging app that has been used by conservative groups and groups opposing Covid restrictions.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that Telegram could be banned if it continues being used by groups opposing Covid measures to organize. She told Die Zeit weekly:

We cannot rule this out. A shutdown would be grave and clearly a last resort. All other options must be exhausted first.

Faeser said that Germany was discussing with other European Union Members how to regulate Telegram, noting:

As a German nation-state, we cannot do it alone.

Telegram is a messaging app with social media-like features. Through groups and channels with an unlimited number of members and subscribers, messages, news, and other information can be shared among like-minded people. The private messages can be protected from snooping through end-to-end-encryption, although this is not the default.

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