October 25, 2020

Five Eyes Alliance, Japan & India jointly signed a statement calling on technology companies to set up backdoors

3 min read

The Five Eyes Alliance is an intelligence alliance established by the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The Five Eyes Alliance issued a statement on the website of the US Department of Justice.

The statement requires global technology companies to set up a backdoor for them so that intelligence agencies can use the backdoor program to access and monitor the network activities of specific targets.

The joint signatories of this statement are also India and Japan. India and Japan are not members of the Five Eyes Alliance, but they seem to be involved in this official version of the backdoor incident.

The alliance stated that the rapid development of encrypted network communications in recent years has affected the necessary supervision of law enforcement agencies in various countries, which may pose a huge challenge to public safety.

Applysense / Public domain

The end-to-end encryption applications currently in mainstream use include Facebook Messages, Telegram, Signal, WhatsApp, and other applications.

The end-to-end encryption (E2EE) used in these applications is difficult to decrypt, so intelligence agencies cannot secretly intercept important information.

To this end, the coalition stated that governments and international agencies believe that action must be taken and called on technology companies to reserve back doors for law enforcement agencies to facilitate these agencies to monitor quietly.

The Five Eyes Alliance said that encryption is important to ensure privacy and network security, but law enforcement agencies should not completely rule out actions against illegal content and activities on the Internet.

If technology companies can take public safety into consideration in the system design, the system should provide law enforcement agencies with access rights so that law enforcement agencies can read the data.

We call on technology companies to work with governments to take the following steps, focused on reasonable, technically feasible solutions,” the seven governments said in a press release.

  • “Embed the safety of the public in system designs, thereby enabling companies to act against illegal content and activity effectively with no reduction to safety, and facilitating the investigation and prosecution of offences and safeguarding the vulnerable;
  • “Enable law enforcement access to content in a readable and usable format where an authorisation is lawfully issued, is necessary and proportionate, and is subject to strong safeguards and oversight; and
  • “Engage in consultation with governments and other stakeholders to facilitate legal access in a way that is substantive and genuinely influences design decisions.”

High-strength encrypted communication does make it difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate, but privacy advocates believe that encrypted communication can bring strong protection to businesses and activities.

The leaked documents show that the EU has even considered mandatory requirements for backdoors from the legal level, and the documents show that the EU is brewing targeted anti-encryption laws.

The anti-encryption law will force technology companies to provide data access rights for some EU institutions, that is, to reserve back doors for law enforcement agencies to monitor all communications.

At present, the technology companies mentioned in the statement issued by the Five Eyes Alliance have not issued a statement on this matter, and it is not clear how these technology companies will respond to backdoor requests.

Via: ZDNet