The prime minister has pledged anti-terror laws to give the security services the ability to read encrypted communications in extreme circumstances. But experts say such access would mean changing the way internet-based messaging services such as Apple’s iMessage or Facebook’s WhatsApp work.
Independent computer security expert Graham Cluley said: “It’s crazy. Cameron is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that this is a sensible idea, and no it wouldn’t be possible to implement properly.”
Other security experts echo Cluley, describing the approach as “idiocy” and saying Cameron’s plans are “ill-thought out and scary”. The UK’s data watchdog has also spoken out against “knee-jerk reactions”, saying moves could undermine consumer security.
One insider at a major US technology firm told the Guardian that “politicians are fond of asking why it is that tech companies don’t base themselves in the UK”. “I think if you’re saying that encryption is the problem, at a time when consumers and businesses see encryption as a very necessary part of trust online, that’s a very indicative point of view.”
As Cory Doctorow says, what David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry.