In the hours after last week s terrorist attack in Westminster that claimed the lives of four people, the message from the Government was one of defiance. Our way of life will not change, they said . It will be business as usual .
The British values of freedom and democracy will prevail. If there is going to be a debate on messaging and security it should at least be an informed one
Yet only four days after Khalid Masood s rampage, the Home Secretary took to the airwaves to demand that messaging services such as WhatsApp tear up their security features1, allowing police to intercept communications as part of criminal investigations. It appears that the debate about how to balance civil liberties against the Government s responsibility to keep the British public safe is about to start up all over again only four months after the so-called Snooper s Charter became law.
The Investigatory Powers Act, you may recall, requires web and phone companies to store the web and browsing histories of all users for a year. It also gives the police and security agencies powers to hack into computers and phones and to harvest vast amounts of data although the European Court of Justice s ruling in December has tempered this somewhat. Despite this major change, Amber Rudd is now targeting message services such as WhatsApp, claiming they provide a safe haven for terrorists by making it impossible for communications to be decoded, thanks to end-to-end encryption.
Giving police access in certain serious cases might sound reasonable, but unfortunately it is not that simple. Tech companies say that building a back door or security flaw into encrypted messaging systems naturally make them less secure for everyone. Ms Rudd also sounded less than clued-up when she talked about the technology she is trying to reform.
On extremist material, she asserted that the Government would speak to experts who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff ever being put up . As anyone who has ever used Twitter knows, this is utter nonsense. If there is going to be a debate on messaging and security, as the Government clearly wishes, it should at least be an informed one.
A former security guard who worked at an Argos store in North London has been elected president of The Gambia. Adama Barrow ended Yahya Jammeh s 22-year-long rule in a shock victory following Thursday s elections. The 51-year-old is set to be president for the next five years and marks a change of leadership in the country . However he only emerged onto The Gambia s political scene some six months ago.
Adama Barrow won by 263,515 votes 45 percent of the total while Yahya Jammeh finished in second place with 36 percent.
Rule for a billion years
According to Sky News1, Yahya Jammeh had vowed to rule for a billion years . During the election campaign, Jammeh said his victory would be the biggest landslide in the history of the country. He appeared on television to concede saying: I take this opportunity to congratulate Mr Adama for his victory . It s a clear victory .
I wish him all the best and I wish all Gambians the best. Jammeh who came to power in 1994, also offered the President elect help with the transition. Human rights groups have heavily criticised Jammeh s rule of The Gambia and accused him of repressing the media, opposition and being anti-gay .
A passion for Arsenal Football Club
According to The Independent3, 51-year-old President elect Adama Barrow spent over three years living in London when he was younger. He worked in an Argos store on Holloway Road as a security guard, close to the Emirates Stadium where Arsenal Football Club play. The President elect is said to have developed a passion for his local team.
He later moved back to his home country and set up his own estate agency. Barrow had been chosen by a group of political parties who rallied together to try and end Jammeh s 22-year-long rule.
Cheering in the streets
The Guardian4 reported that as soon as the result had been announced people went out onto the streets of the capital Banjul to celebrate. Cars were screeching their horns and loudly playing music while children and their families gathered to sing.
People also took to the internet to celebrate following a 24 hour internet blackout on the day of the election.
The former chief information officer of the UK government John Suffolk has defended the spying practices of the US National Security Agency, while at the same time calling for more transparency and oversight.
In a blogpost1 written shortly after revelations that the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations unit has been secretly planting back doors in consumer electronics2, Suffolk stated that governments around the world should have access to as much data as possible in order to protect from external threats.
“In relation to my views I am quite clear I want my Government to have as much data as possible,” Suffolk said. “I want them to have the tools, techniques and resources to mine this data to stop a terrible event from occurring stopping one event is good enough for me.
“The alternative is we have to sift through the body parts once an event has occurred.”
The NSA has been widely criticised by privacy advocates for violating the constitutional rights of citizens, with one US judge claiming last month that the agency’s practice of dragnet surveillance was “almost certainly” in violation of the fourth amendment3.
Suffolk, who now works as the global head of cyber security at Huawei, instead argues that questioning the morality or legality of TAO “misses the point”.
He suggests that those who have a problem with the actions of such units should direct their frustration and anger towards the politicians, policy makers and legislators who have “little understanding of technology, security and probably many other things”.
“I want the legal frameworks to be in place, I want transparency, I want oversight and I do not want my Government (or any Government) to cross the line and weaken security for all by building in backdoors, weakening crypto or any of the shenanigans that have occurred with the American tech Industry,” Suffolk said.
“The moment we confuse the role of the state in national security and the private sector in national security we are all doomed to a life where there are no holds barred he or she with the deepest pockets and the greatest resources and brains wins the race to the bottom of the pit there are only losers with this scenario.”
- ^ blogpost (johnsuffolk.typepad.com)
- ^ secretly planting back doors in consumer electronics (www.itproportal.com)
- ^ the agency’s practice of dragnet surveillance was “almost certainly” in violation of the fourth amendment (www.itproportal.com)