The governments of Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand announced they intend to force encryption technology providers to provide lawful access to users’ encrypted communications, iTnews reported.
At the Five Country Ministerial meeting on the Gold Coast last week, security and immigration officials put forward a range of proposals to combat terrorism and crime, with an emphasis on the future of the Internet and encryption technology (Silicon Valley).
As part of the Five Eyes umbrella agreement, the countries share intelligence with one another as was revealed by Edward Snowden.
As a reminder, Snowden exposed that the Five Eyes countries had hacked into and planted spyware on at least 50,000 networks worldwide. This was done through the NSA team called Tailored Access Operations (TAO) the malware was designed to compromise routers, switches, and firewalls to monitor entire networks.
Now we have the same countries seeking to “encourage information and communications technology service providers to voluntarily establish lawful access solutions to their products and services.”
This will apply to all products and services operated in the Five Eyes countries, which could see legislation to push implementation of a backdoor in technologies.
“Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions,” the Five-Eyes joint statement on encryption said.
If the legislation passes, this will allow the ability to create backdoors in applications and services that will enable communications interception capabilities for law enforcement officials.
Governments around the world have consistently been criticized by cryptography and security experts as dangerous for wanting backdoors for decades now.
The counter-argument against the government is that it makes the technology less secure for users.
Despite the criticism and concerns that backdoors in Five Eyes countries’ applications and services could be exploited and abused by anyone in the world, the Five Eyes countries have pursued interception capabilities, stating by not having this backdoor it’s a violation of the “rule of law.”
At the summit, the Five Eyes countries also issued a joint statement on countering the illicit use of online spaces.
While the statement says the five countries “are committed to an open, safe and secure internet,” it also calls for the tech industry to develop solutions that “will prevent illegal and illicit content from ever being uploaded to their servers” in the first place….
It’s strange that they aren’t satisfied with the current state of affairs, in which snooping is virtually guaranteed without extensive understanding and use of obscure and non-commercial cryptographic software, which thankfully is still available on the net. Even TOR is compromised to a determined state actor. My guess is that they’re working up to their ultimate goal, rendering all encryption illegal. You know, like they’ve already made pedophilia illegal. Except to wealthy or well-connected pedophiles.
Truecrypt 7.1a is widely believed to be a legitimate strong crypto package. It is available as a link on the page at
History shows that open source software is not necessarily secure. Huge and long-standing security holes have been discovered in linux programs which were widely thought to be reliable and impenetrable. Just because the source is available doesn’t mean anyone will take the time to go over it with a fine toothed comb.