December 10, 2019

Open Rights Group joins international outcry over UK government calls to access private messages

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TUESDAY 10 DECEMBER 2019   

Open Rights Group has joined dozens of other organizations signing an open letter to the UK government to express significant concerns raised by their recent statements against encryption.

The UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has joined her US counterparts in demanding weaker encryption and asking internet companies to design digital “back doors” into their messaging services. The UK government suggests stronger capabilities to monitor private messages will aid inf fighting terrorism and child abuse. ORG disagrees, arguing that  alternative approaches must be used as the proposed measures will weaken the security of every internet user.

ORG is concerned that this attack on encryption forms a pattern of attacks on digital privacy and security by the UK government. Only last week leaked documents showed that the UK wants to give the US access to NHS records and other personal information, in a ”free flow of data” between the two countries. 

The open letter was also addressed to US and Australian authorities, and was coordinated by the US-based Open Technology Institute and was signed, among others, by Amnesty International, Article 19, Index on Censorship, Privacy International and Reporters Without Borders.

Javier Ruiz Diaz, Policy Director for Open Rights Group, said: 

“The Home Secretary wants to be able to access our private messages in WhatsApp and similar apps, demanding that companies remove the technical protections that keep out fraudsters and other criminals. This is wrong and will make the internet less safe. Surveillance measures should be targeted and not built into the apps used by millions of people to talk to their friends and family.”

Notes to Editors

You can find the letter here.

If you want more information about encryption, you can read more on our blog here:

https://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2017/encryption-must-not-be-a-dirty-word-5-ways-we-all-rely-on-it

For further information please contact Federica Dadone, Communication Officer for Open Rights Group, at press@openrightsgroup.org or 0207 0961079.

ENDS