This week, the news is full of Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP’s so-called ‘rant’ against tech firms. She’s demanded that ‘Silicon Valley had to do more to help the authorities access messages on end-to-end encrypted services like WhatsApp.’
Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP stated that she doesn’t want ‘back doors’ installed in encryption codes. And we agree, because cat-flaps like this create weak points that skilled cybercriminals and terrorists can exploit. Nor does she want to ban encryption – thank goodness – because she knows that even the simplest encryption goes a long way to reduce interception and cyber-crime. No, what Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP wants is for tech firms to allow easier access by police and the security services. A big ask. Or is it?
Right now. And we think it will satisfy everyone involved in this debate. Except, of course, the criminals and terrorists.
Our model for socially responsible encryption is called Light Blue, and it’s pretty simple. Light Blue is a true end-to-end encryption system, but – unusually – there are two recipients for each message. There’s the primary recipient, who gets the message straight away, and there’s a government of the sender’s choice, who must wait for it. Messages encrypted for governments are released to them under controlled circumstances, say, when they issue a warrant. But – crucially – the government in question knows from the outset that they have access should they require it. And that’s what changes things.
The model is robust and it is secure. Built upon a controlled process of message duplication, over-encryption and blockchain, there is an immutable record of transactions. All traffic is encrypted, there are no backdoors, and no authority can decrypt anything without consent.
Where do we start? Use an encryption scheme like Light Blue and users are less likely to be investigated by governments, because it’s the last system you’d choose to plan something malicious. Of course, criminals can simply go elsewhere for their end-to end- encryption. But the beauty of Light Blue is, the more users it has, the smaller the landscape in which the bad guys can operate. And they become increasingly visible big fish in an ever-decreasing pond. Nice.
As well as being a model, which can be used by anyone, Light Blue is also a system, which we’re in the process of developing, initially for Android devices. The Light Blue app will go live for beta users in the Google Play store on 01/01/2018.
Interested? Read more detail in our White Paper.
Steve Asher is the CTO of Mineral Blue, and the technical director of QEM Solutions. Steve is in Mandurah, Western Australia.
Mineral Blue is supplied to the oil & gas and mining markets by QEM Solutions, 1 Telford Mews, Beattock, Moffat, Scotland, DG10 9SG
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