Countries participating in the Five Eyes Alliance (which brings together intelligence agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom), as well as India and Japan, have once again urged tech companies to leave backdoors in their products so that law enforcement agencies have access to content in a readable and convenient format.
Over the weekend, alliance members issued an official statement urging tech companies to create tailor-made solutions that could enable law enforcement to access end-to-end encrypted communications. It must be said that this is not the first time that Five Eyes has tried to force tech companies to implement backdoors in their code. For example, the organization has already made similar calls in 2018 and 2019.
“IT companies are driving themselves into a corner by equipping products with end-to-end encryption (E2EE). After all, E2EE allows users to conduct completely secure conversations (be it chat, audio or video) without even providing the encryption keys even to the companies themselves”, – said in Five Eyes.
According to Five Eyes experts, all this prevents law enforcement agencies from investigating crimes, and the companies themselves are unable to enforce their own user agreements and cannot provide the necessary data to investigators. The statement says that in the end, encryption jeopardizes the safety of “very vulnerable members of our society, such as children who are sexually exploited.”
“We urge tech companies to work with governments and take steps towards smart and technically feasible solutions”, — write government officials from seven countries.
In particular, Five Eyes offers:
- Ensure public safety by incorporating it into systems during design, which will enable companies to more effectively combat illegal content and activities without compromising security, and will also facilitate the investigation and prosecution of delinquency and the protection of vulnerable populations;
- Provide law enforcement agencies with access to content in a readable and easy-to-read format where permission is legally granted, necessary and proportionate, and will be applied in accordance with strict safeguards and controls.
The officials said they intend to work with technology companies to develop solutions that will allow users to continue to use secure encrypted communications, but also enable law enforcement and technology companies to fight criminal activity.
At the same time, seven governments called for the implementation of backdoors not only in encrypted messengers, but also to use them in cases of “device encryption, custom encrypted applications and encryption on integrated platforms.”
Let me remind you that recently Qatar obliged citizens to install “spyware” related to COVID-19 pandemic.