Will UK government allow companies to offer communications services which can't be read?

Latest attempt at a petition [also first attempt at a video blog post].

Please sign here.

Will Govnt allow companies to offer communications services which can't be read?

The Home Office answered my last petition with a contradiction, so this is a simple yes/no question.

Encryption means people can communicate privately, so their communication is impossible to read. This means terrorists and criminals can also have privacy.

Will the government allow this?

It is possible to send secret/private communications using nothing more than pen and paper and dice which cannot be read by anyone else, not even GCHQ or NSA. So terrorists and criminals can communicate anyway.

But the Investigatory Powers Bill asks companies to remove any "protection" someone has applied. This can only serve to invade privacy of the rest of us!

So the question is whether the government wish to allow iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, https, etc, with no intercept, or not?


Please sign here.


  1. Says its being "Checked to make sure it meets standards".... Looks like you're on their list Adrian....

  2. We’re checking this petition

    5 people have already supported Adrian Kennard’s petition.

    We need to check it meets the petition standards before we publish it.

    Please try again in a few days

  3. "We need to check it meets the petition standards" while we make Adrian a nice comfortable bed in the Ministry of Love right next to Room 101

  4. Dear Adrian
    Do you see that van outside your gaff?

    Yes, the one with the man with the Binoculars behind the tinted glass windows.

    Well, is there any chance you could pop outside and help him get online he's struggling to configure his mobile device.

    Ta, Head of Agent I Am Thick

  5. Looking at their exhaustive list of potential rejection reasons I can only conclude that someone considers that your petition may "not be clear what you're asking for", not that I agree. Not one of the other possible reasons are in any way applicable.

  6. I always think the strange thing about this is that it doesn't matter if they can read your facebook messenger, or your email, or your whatsapp or your ... whatever.
    Anyone evil can just cut and paste ascii encoded encrypted text into their chat program and send it that way. Then even if the communication is decrypted they get nothing. The only people this affects are those who have no reason to be monitored.

    It's as if the government had made a law that everyone must give a key to their house and give it to the police so that the police can come and rummage through your house whenever they feel like it. But they forgot that anyone who has anything to hide will just put it in a safe in their house.... So it only affects those with no huge reason to hide things.

    1. Is incriminating evidence never found (outside of safes) by searching houses, then? Contemporary terrorists seem to use all sorts of imperfectly-secure ways of communicating, don't they?

    2. There are stupid criminals. I am not sure "stupid criminals exist" is really a good justification for invasion of privacy. Also, stupid criminals find lots of other ways to be caught with snooping on everything.

    3. But if, in fact, contemporary terrorists use everyday unencrypted communication methods, then arguments about encryption are entirely irrelevant to discussions about the merits of surveillance for catching terrorists.

      In just that same way that even though safes have been around for hundreds of years, plod still finds that kicking-in the front door and riffling through the contents finds useful stuff often enough to be worthwhile.

      Saying 'this law won't catch this hypothetical criminal' will not convince someone who believed you at the 'hypothetical' bit.

      I'm not actually pro mass surveillance, BTW.

    4. Ok which brings us back to targeted surveillance - your analogy is to disallow safes because some people use them. We should allow secure communications knowing that many criminals are stupid enough to not use it, and allow targeted surveillance when necessary to catch them. Not undermine or ban proper encryption (or safes).

  7. Just tried to sign it and got this message, WTF?

    We’re checking this petition

    5 people have already supported Adrian Kennard’s petition.

    We need to check it meets the petition standards before we publish it.

    Please try again in a few days.

  8. Well 24-27 Jan is a few days, so why can't we sign Have they blocked or intercepted it,you didn't encrypt it did you?

    The government are fools this is too taxing for them to grasp , they do not realise that their bill will break encryption, make all online banking and purchases insecure, and also be an invasion of privacy , surely if this isn't a breech of our human rights it should be ? I also think that this has little to do with preventing terrorism and serious crimes, that's just the blurb they use every-time they want to erode our rights/freedoms, they are control freaks

  9. Adrian, your tireless efforts for the cause of free communication is laudable and much appreciated, but as I pointed out previously on your first petition, it would be better to think these things through a bit more thoroughly and polish the wording of the petition before submitting and publicising it.

    The latest submission is a question, and as such it is strictly speaking not a petition. I am not surprised that they are checking the petition to see if meets the petition standards.

    It should be a well worded, concise petition, such as "Government not to pursue backdoors to encryption" which explains briefly but clearly why it is technically impossible to have secure encryption and backdoors at the same time and why backdoors would not be effective anyway, as criminals can just come up with their own encryption scheme.

    I'd be willing to help put togther a more professional effort at a petition and then try to get it publicised more widely.

    1. The problem here is that without knowing the answer to the question it is hard to then campaign to stop them doing something. At this stage they just say they are not stopping it, and then contradict themselves. The petition site specifically provides for an answer from government at 10,000 votes so makes perfect sense as a means to ask a question, surely. What other means exist to ask a question and expect an answer?


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