I spy with my Five Eyes

Five eyes are watching you

The Five Eyes governments are going after encryption providers asking them to voluntarily build lawful access into encrypted messaging and data storage systems, or risk legislation demanding it.

Five Eyes, is basically a global surveillance operation made up of the five ‘Anglosphere’ nations Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. The homeland security, public safety, and immigration ministers of the group met at a Five Country Ministerial meeting in Australia recently. Out of that, three statements were released, one of which explicitly asked that IT developers allow governments back door access to encrypted content.

The Statement of Principles on Access to Evidence and Encryption highlights: "The increasing gap between the ability of law enforcement to lawfully access data and their ability to acquire and use the content of that data is a pressing international concern that requires urgent, sustained attention and informed discussion on the complexity of the issues and interests at stake. Otherwise, court decisions about legitimate access to data are increasingly rendered meaningless, threatening to undermine the systems of justice established in our democratic nations.”

If it sounds Orwellian, relax, service providers who “voluntarily establish lawful access solutions” for encrypted content will have “freedom of choice” in how they do it… Talk about a consolation prize.   

So the Five Eyed Monster is effectively asking that strong encryption be abolished in favor of defective encryption to make it easier for governments to spy on their own citizens. Let’s just uninvent advanced encryption, shall we? That will stop the bad guys. Thing is, advanced encryption exists and bad guys are going to use it, so why can’t good guys who have data they don’t want to share with governments use it too?

Advanced encryption protects our bank accounts, medical records and more. If we lose it, you can expect a lot more data breaches than the multiple daily ones you read about already.