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Privacy Under Siege: Europol and the UK Crime Agency Target Encryption, Call For Backdoors

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

What is best known as the “politicization of institutions” in authoritarian societies is these days making a creeping but steady progress in some countries/blocs one would not have suspected of such things until relatively recently.

Here we have Europol (EU’s law enforcement agency) and the supposedly “divested” from the EU shenanigans via Brexit UK – but is it really? – and that country’s National Crime Agency (NCA), teaming up to attack Meta for dozens and dozens of reasonable reasons, but for the one thing the company is apparently trying to do right.

Read the joint declaration here.

And that’s implementing in its products end-to-end encryption (E2EE), the very, necessary, irreplaceable software backbone of a safe and secure internet for everybody. Yet that is what many governments, and here we see the EU via Europol, and the UK, keep attempting to damage.

But mass surveillance is a hard sell, so the established pitch is to link the global and overall internet problem, to that of the safety of children online, and justify it that way.

The Europol executive director, Catherine De Bolle, compared E2EE to “sending your child into a room full of strangers and locking the door.”

And yet, the technological truth and reality of the situation is that undermining E2EE is akin to giving the key to your front door and access to everybody in it, children included, to somebody you “trust” (say, governments and organizations who like you to take their trustworthiness for granted).

Related: How the “think of the children” narrative is being used to crush online free speech and privacy

But once a copy of that key is out, it can be obtained and used by anybody out there to get into your house at any time, for any reason.

That includes governments and organizations you don’t trust or like, straight-up criminals – and anything active on the web in between.

None of this seems to make any difference to those pushing for encryption backdoors (i.e., giving up the keys to your online life). Privacy advocates and experts have long warned that the real reason is not these entities “thinking of the children” – but trying to facilitate mass surveillance.

And they’re not giving up on trying to put a negative spin on encryption, and a positive one on their own dubious to say the least efforts.

According to NCA chief Graeme Biggar, Meta and its properties – Facebook, and Instagram – have “consciously blinded themselves” to serious crimes.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, join Reclaim The Net.

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