Researchers Suggest a Ban on Encryption Will Drive Darknet Use
After the London terror attack in June, Prime Minister Theresa May lashed out at communication companies for “providing safe places for extremists to broadcast their hate messages over the Internet.” She pushed for international agreements allowing the government to regulate the internetâa step she believed would curb terrorism. Some security researchers, though, argued that doing so would only push terrorist content onto the darknet.
Simon Milner, Policy Director at Facebook, announced that Facebook already implemented many anti-terrorism protocols. In the statement, Milner explained that Facebook worked towards creating âa hostile environment for terrorism.â He explained that Facebook already takes advantage of every method possible to find various types of threats. The social networking giant also reports the content to law enforcement for legal action.
Twitter’s Head of Public Policy in the UK, Nick Pickles said similarâthat âterrorist content has no place on Twitter.â More than 375,000 accounts were suspended in the second half of 2016 for terror related content. However, when compared to Facebook or Google’s YouTube, Twitter failed to control the majority of the accounts reported for terrorist activity. Pickles told CNN that the platform would ânever stop workingâ on fighting the spread of terrorist propaganda.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd when asked about hashtags:
Privacy enthusiasts have not responded well. Cybercrime analyst Nico Cool wrote that âterrorists have free reign on the internet,â in reference to May’s ongoing plan. âWell-known Internet companies may indeed make some efforts to block extremist content. But on the Tor, darknet criminals are the master. And it will stay that wayâ He, unsurprisingly, disagrees with May’s push towards a privacy free world. Some counter-terror experts believe the darknet is already to blame. âPeople are learning how to carry out attacks on the darknet,â Nikita Malik told Express.co.uk. âPeople are learning how to carry out attacks through manuals than can be downloaded through the darknet.â
The anti-terrorism movementâspecifically the pressure to end encryption and more tightly regulate online communication networksâhas been explained as a part of a much larger anti-piracy agenda.
And possibly the same goal: to prevent terrorism. In 2016 after May became the Prime Minister, Amber Rudd was appointed Home Secretary. Rudd has vocally pressed for the end of encryption.
âWe need to make sure that organizations like WhatsÂApp â and there are plenty of others like that â donât provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other,â Home Secretary Amber Rudd told BBC1âs Andrew Marr Show. Rudd pinpointed WhatsApp after the Manchester attacks. âIt is absurd that we can have a situation where you have Âterrorists talking to each other on a formal platform. You canât have a situation where warranted information is needed â perhaps to stop attacks like the one last week â and it canât be accessed,â she said.
She disagreed with the notion of fining social media organizations for the presence of terrorist content but planned on working with them to find a solution. In 2015, PM David Cameron promised to put a stop to end-to-end encryption. This never happened. Rudd said that she will give tech companies âone last chance.â
“By getting rid of encryption you just leave the back gates open,â said Jennifer Arcuri, a co-founder of Hacker House and a voice of reason on the topic of encryption. âIf you make one backdoor for the government, you have no idea who is listening. The point is that there is no way of curtailing who has access to it if the backdoor is there,â Arcuri said in a discussion on BBC Radio 4.