The UK government has once again threatened tech companies over development of message encryption tools, saying they should either cooperate with security and intelligence services to solve the “problem” or face stricter laws.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Monday that end-to-end encryption technologies used in messaging applications were working to the benefit of terrorists.
“We support its place in making sure that we have secure facilities in our daily lives,” Rudd told BBC.
“However, there is a problem in terms of the growth of end-to-end encryption. It’s a problem for the security services and for police who are not, under the normal way, under properly-warranted paths, able to access that information,” she added.
The home secretary, who has been holding meetings with tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and others, said the companies should “share more information with us.”
She specifically called on the developers to share metadata sent via their services. Such data would include information about the people involved in the conversation and its duration without exposing the content.
“It’s governments that need to urge them to really take action so that we don’t have to go down the road of legislation – and get them to do it on a voluntary but urgent basis,” she warned. “Legislation is always an alternative.”
Rudd also said the companies had a duty to either take down “extremist” content or “even better, [make sure it] doesn’t go up in the first place.”
London’s constant push for an encryption ban has put the government at odds with tech companies and privacy rights groups.
Major tech companies were slated to attend the first Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism in San Francisco on Tuesday, to discuss how to tackle the spread of terrorism through social media.
The participating companies said in a joint statement they were working to “substantially disrupt terrorists’ ability to use the internet in furthering their causes, while also respecting human rights.”