Cameron Comes Out in Support of Encryption Ban

UK Prime Minister David Cameron recently spoke out in support of enacting legislation that will enable the country’s security services to gain access to communications held through internet platforms, The Independent reported. A previous attempt to pass a communications data bill was blocked, adds the report. There has been a steady increase in the popularity of encrypted communications services, and companies like Apple, Inc. have recently introduced encryption that is impossible for them to undo, even if presented with a warrant, according to the article.  In November 2014, Robert Hannigan, the director of the UK’s GCHQ, raised concerns that terrorist organizations may be using these services to communicate while avoiding detection, and advocated for additional surveillance capabilities for the security services.

In October 2014, FBI Director James Comey raised similar concerns, and suggested that Congress enact legislation that will require technology companies to build “backdoors” into their devices. There is already a law requiring telephone companies in the U.S. to build “backdoors” into their networks. This gives law enforcement access to wire and electronic communications carried through those networks pursuant to a court order or other lawful authorization. However, the law, commonly referred to as the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act or CALEA, has not been updated since it was passed in 1994. It also does not apply to communications platforms online. Updating CALEA to extend its reach to technology companies would require these companies to provide law enforcement with access to information that telephone companies are already providing, according to Homeland Security News Wire.

In the wake of Cameron’s announcement, his party has indicated that it will revive a previously blocked communications data bill, reports Business Insider. Cameron’s announcement has already received much criticism from civil liberties organizations accusing him of using the recent attacks on Charlie Hebdo in France to gain support for extending government surveillance capabilities. However, the previously blocked bill would have only required phone and internet companies to keep records of users’ internet, email and cell phone activity, reports The Independent. This type of data is usually considered non-content information. Because the actual content contained in the calls and messages are not being recorded, the risk of infringing on the civil liberties of citizens should be less of a concern.

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One Response to “Cameron Comes Out in Support of Encryption Ban”

  1. […] news closely follows British Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent announcement of his support for the ban on encrypted forms of communication. Bloomberg further reported that […]

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography


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