Counter-terrorism: Cryptography

Home Office written question – answered on 3rd April 2017.

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Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Economy)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what consultation she has conducted with (a) financial services firms, (b) legal services firms, (c) the technology sector and (d) identity verification providers on her policy to abolish end-to-end encryption.

Photo of Louise Haigh Louise Haigh Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Economy)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment has been conducted of the consequences for (a) the UK economy and (b) national security of banning end-to-end encryption.

Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)

The Government is keen to ensure that the correct balance is struck between protecting information online and the need for our police and intelligence agencies to read, subject to appropriate authorisation, encrypted messages of those who plan and commit terrorist attacks and serious crimes when it is both necessary and proportionate to do so. We continue to work with all those with an interest in this issue, from law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies to communications service providers.

It is important to remember that we already have well-established, constructive working relationships with major technology companies. And we will continue to engage with them, along with other partners, to find a solution that both permits law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies to get the information they need, whilst also protecting privacy.

Last week’s attack has highlighted the need for a proper public debate on this issue. The Government will be working with internet companies to ensure they fulfil their moral and social responsibility to help our police and security services to keep us all safe.

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