Monday 16th of December 2019

not if everyone winks at once...


five eyes

Tony Abbott has defended the role of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance while on tour in North America, saying it should never apologise for “doing what’s necessary”, and confirmed he is hoping to meet Rupert Murdoch in New York.

The Australian leader has arrived in Canada to meet the country’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, a fellow conservative. Canada is part of the Five Eyes alliance along with Australia, England, New Zealand and the US. Abbott declared the US the “heavy lifter” of the group.

Revelations from the whistleblower Edward Snowden have raised controversy about the alliance's activities.

“Obviously we have to be intelligent about our intelligence. I mean that goes without saying, but the important thing is not to be deterred from doing what is necessary to protect our citizens, our interests and our values, and what is sometimes forgotten about the work of the Five Eyes is that it’s not just for the benefit of those five countries but it is ultimately for the benefit of the wider world,” Abbott told reporters in Ottawa when asked if Five Eyes should assess its spying practices.


keep your comments in your budgie smuggler, please......

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called Russia a "bully" and demanded it stops "interfering" in Ukraine.

Mr Abbott's strongest comments on Russia to date came while he was in Ottawa, and followed Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper's criticisms of president Vladimir Putin.

Mr Harper described the Russian president as an "extreme nationalist" and "imperialist" who believes he has the "right and ability" to "invade" other countries.

"We're not at Hitleresque proportions but this is really disconcerting," Mr Harper told Canada's Global News. "This is a major power threatening global peace and security."

Mr Abbott backed the Canadian prime minister's comments.

"They're very forthright remarks and I think that they're perfectly appropriate remarks for the Canadian prime minister to make," Mr Abbott said.


I suppose that Russia could say the same about the West: stop interfering with Ukraine... The West has been infiltrating Ukraine for more than ten years, trying to destroy the Russian/Ukraine long established alliance... Our Turd-in-Chief should stay out of what he has no idea about...

meanwhile in south australia...


How far does this government’s obsession with secrecy extend? And what’s the link between national security and a crass pre-election photo-op for the Prime Minister and South Australian Opposition Leader and failure-to-be Steven Marshall?

On March 13, the Prime Minister went to South Australia’s RAAF base Edinburgh to announce the acquisition of Triton drone aircraft, in the company of Air Marshal Geoff Brown. Entirely legitimate, of course  — indeed, where else but an RAAF base should such an announcement be made — and the Tritons will be based at Edinburgh. All good.

Except, immediately upon finishing the announcement, Abbott walked a few metres away inside the same hanger and then stood in front of a Liberal Party backdrop to re-announce the Triton purchase, with Steven Marshall, and then campaign for him.

“I’m pleased to be joined today by my South Australian colleague, the Leader, Steven Marshall and I am hopeful of being able to work constructively with Steven Marshall as premier after Saturday… Steven wants to work constructively with the Commonwealth; the incumbent Premier thinks that his role is to fight with the Commonwealth. Well I think the Australian people want better than that. I think the South Australian people want better than that.”

Is it appropriate to conduct party political events on RAAF bases? Labor Senator Stephen Conroy asked the Defence Minister, the apparently permanently enraged David Johnston, about it at estimates a fortnight ago. Johnston initially refused to even acknowledge that the visit had taken place, despite the transcript of the events being on the Prime Minister’s own website.

Conroy: Can you confirm that this event took place at the RAAF Base Edinburgh on 13 March, two days before the SA election?
Johnston: I most certainly cannot.
Conroy: Sorry, you cannot?
Johnston: I cannot.
Conroy: I wrote to you about this. I asked you questions in the past.
Johnston: I cannot confirm that this photograph is anywhere at all. I was not there. I do not know where the photograph is. Quite frankly, that should have been a very obvious answer to you.
Conroy: Can I go to the transcript of the Prime Minister’s press conference where he says: “It was terrific to arrive here at RAAF Base Edinburgh today in one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Wedgetail aircraft.” Further in the same press conference on that day: “Here at RAAF Base Edinburgh we are basing, in the years to come, the Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft.” Does that assist you in your knowledge?
Johnston: Not one bit.

Fortunately, Air Marshal Brown was actually attending estimates, and was able to confirm that the event took place, and all took place in the one hanger. Defence Secretary Dennis Richardson explained that there were guidelines around the use of defence personnel for political purposes, but conducting partisan activities on military bases was OK if no military personnel were involved.

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One could ask questions about who set up the theatre with backdrop for Tony to do his stunt at the base? Did they get permission? Who signed on the paperwork? Was it some defence personnel? No defence personnel involved? Rubbish.


And who is the David Johnston of the saga, a man who obviously is lying?... According to the merde-och press he is the glorious avid minister of defence who might buy some glorious submarines from the Japanese... We should be avidly impressed, but I'm not:



SEVENTY-TWO years after Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour killing 21 sailors, Defence Minister David Johnston will today tour a Japanese submarine as a strong ally and potential buyer.

Senator Johnston will become the first ever Australian Defence Minister and the first minister from any foreign nation, to go aboard a Soryu (Blue Dragon) Class submarine serving with the Japanese Self Defence Force.

Australia and Japan are building much stronger defence ties and Senator Johnston, an avid submarine watcher, is keen to possibly include some of the cutting-edge Japanese technology in Australia’s next generation submarine.

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a foot in both camps...


Jean-Claude Juncker, the next head of the European Commission, plans to implement a new digital strategy for the Continent. Europe, he believes, needs to become better equipped to defend itself from the US and Asia.

To the competition regulators in Brussels, Google has something akin to frequent flier status. Hardly a week goes by that an injured company doesn't deliver incriminating information about the Internet giant to the European Union capital.

The flood of complaints is coming from a growing number of markets where the company wasn't previously active. On June 11, Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia wrote a letter to his colleagues on the European Commission, the EU's executive, outlining some of these markets. The letter states that they include "social networks, video catalogue, streaming, mobile phone operating systems and apps." Among the latest complainants, the letter notes, is an advertising platform, the alliance of European photo agencies known as CEPIC, the Open Internet Project, which unites European publishers, and Deutsche Telekom. It can be safely predicted that Google's compliance with EU competition law will be closely monitored for a long time to come.

The competition commissioner claims the allegations are always in the same vein -- that Google is using its dominant position to force competitors out of an increasing number of markets. It's likely that Almunia will also have to tighten the conditions it is imposing on Google as part of current market abuse proceedings being conducted against the company. Almunia had wanted to end the proceedings by requiring the company to make relatively harmless concessions. Now, however, he writes to his fellow commissioners: "Once the comments from complainants are received during the summer, we will need to evaluate whether their arguments and evidence may justify a potential rethink of some aspects of the remedy."

It's not only the Spanish commissioner who appears to be waking up to the seemingly unstoppable advance of massive American Internet firms. In an essay recently published in the respected Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is head of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), wrote that people needed to stand up against the "brutal information capitalism." He argued "only the European Union has the power required to change the political course and rewrite the rules."

Jean-Claude Juncker, who was nominated as the next president of the European Commission at a turbulent summit in Brussels on Friday, shares this view. He wants to make the digital economy the focal point of his presidency. It is one issue on which he can count on support from David Cameron, despite the British prime minister's opposition to Juncker.

Part of Juncker's agenda will be to ensure that Europe challenges market abuse by American Internet giants with greater self-confidence. More important, however, will be for the EU to start cleaning up its own backyard.

Juncker wants to take advantage of a broad consensus among European politicians to put enough muscle in the EU's digital market that European companies can stand up to competition from the United States and Asia in the longer term. "We could create additional growth of €500 billion ($684 billion) and several hundred thousand jobs in Europe," the former Luxembourg prime minster says.

A European Industry in Decline

Juncker's team is currently hard at work drafting a new industrial policy in Brussels. "We will need to have the courage to break down national silos in telecommunications regulations, in copyright and data protection legislation, in the management of radio waves and in competition law," Juncker stated in his election campaign platform, setting the strategic direction.


One of the MAJOR problems the Europeans have to address is the UK dithering. The UK has a foot in each camp... Its biggest foot is in the US camp. See toon and article above...




For 29 years after 1984 we really thought we'd dodged a bullet, that western democracies were safe, powerful and we were all living in freedom. Then last year when the Snowden revelations came out it started to become clearer and clearer that in fact 1984 wasn’t far off the mark; that the NSA and its associated organisations were all colluding in massive wide-scale surveillance of populations and specific targeted surveillance of world leaders.’
Read more: Why Facebook and Twitter are the Panopticons of our time

More troubling still, according to Pesce, is the fact that the governments cooperating with the United States in wholesale global surveillance include Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia—all nations with strong democratic and anti-totalitarian traditions.

‘Everything that we projected onto the Stasi in East Germany as being this ultimate totalitarian state with its monitoring of the population has in fact become reflected back to us in the scale of what the NSA is doing.’

Complicating matters further, Pesce says, is the fact that the economic and social basis for much of our modern digital existence is now centred firmly around some form of surveillance; a social media platform like Facebook, for instance, only works the way it does because its users allow the company to trawl their personal data in return for recommendation-based services.

We may not always recognise this more benign form of surveillance for what it is, but Pesce believes its prevalence complicates our understanding of the difference between healthy data-tracking and unhealthy surveillance.

‘Younger people share and share freely because this is the culture they've grown up in. Folks who are a little bit older, they're new to it and they do it, but it's something that they learned when they were a little older and they maybe have a bit more critical distance around it.’

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"For 29 years after 1984 we really thought we'd dodged a bullet, that western democracies were safe, powerful and we were all living in freedom." ... This is a bit glib and somewhat glossing over all those people who, like us, the oldies at yourdemocracy (YD), have warned the Australian and world public, of fudge and double-cross from governments. Especially right-wing governments who employ neo-fascist tactics to a) get elected (they lie) and b) sustain power by more lying and bullying.


The excellent books "Not Happy John" and "Axis of Deceit" were already on track to show how governments deceive. The scope of spying on their own citizens was not far behind, as well as phone taps from the Murdoch organisations. We knew that 1984 was not "impossible" fiction.


And all of us here, would know that since the days of anti-Vietnam war protests our mugs would have graced the filing cabinets of ASIO... These days, all of this is lazily captured online automatically and glanced by a real human being, should some magic words appear in the posts... As, well some of us come from countries where spying on the citizenry was common practice.


Fear not, most of us a) are not afraid of being spied upon (spies might learn something from us, old kooks) and b) most of us have fall back positions which would entangle most of the politicians with our own downfall. But this for another day...

Hopefully, the political term of Turd Numero Uno will be short lived. 

See toon at top...

living on planet POM (prisoner of mother england)

Besides the 5-Eyes spying agreement, the English-speaking democracies of the North Atlantic and the South Pacific are frequently said to have a few things in common. British prime minister David Cameron recited them perfectly before the Australian parliament on Friday: “open economies and open societies”, a free press, and “real democracy and the rule of law” safeguarded by liberal institutions.

These fantasies underpin the canonical history of what the rightwing calls the Anglosphere. Conservative thinktankers get misty-eyed when they hear speeches like these, which downplay the way in which these English traditions were imposed by settler colonists on countries stolen from their indigenous inhabitants. The Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, did just that in his introduction to Cameron’s visit:

It’s hard to think that back in 1788 [Sydney] was nothing but bush and that the marines and the convicts and sailors ... must have thought they had come almost to the moon.

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is this part of clever disinformation aka double-spook?....

The Digital Arms Race

NSA Preps America for Future Battle

By Jacob Appelbaum, Aaron Gibson, Claudio Guarnieri, Andy Müller-Maguhn, Laura Poitras, , Leif Ryge,  and 

The NSA's mass surveillance is just the beginning. Documents from Edward Snowden show that the intelligence agency is arming America for future digital wars -- a struggle for control of the Internet that is already well underway.

Normally, internship applicants need to have polished resumes, with volunteer work on social projects considered a plus. But at Politerain, the job posting calls for candidates with significantly different skill sets. We are, the ad says, "looking for interns who want to break things."

Politerain is not a project associated with a conventional company. It is run by a US government intelligence organization, the National Security Agency (NSA). More precisely, it's operated by the NSA's digital snipers with Tailored Access Operations (TAO), the department responsible for breaking into computers.

Potential interns are also told that research into third party computers might include plans to "remotely degrade or destroy opponent computers, routers, servers and network enabled devices by attacking the hardware." Using a program called Passionatepolka, for example, they may be asked to "remotely brick network cards." With programs like Berserkr they would implant "persistent backdoors" and "parasitic drivers". Using another piece of software called Barnfire, they would "erase the BIOS on a brand of servers that act as a backbone to many rival governments."

An intern's tasks might also include remotely destroying the functionality of hard drives. Ultimately, the goal of the internship program was "developing an attacker's mindset."

The internship listing is eight years old, but the attacker's mindset has since become a kind of doctrine for the NSA's data spies. And the intelligence service isn't just trying to achieve mass surveillance of Internet communication, either. The digital spies of the Five Eyes alliance -- comprised of the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- want more.

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not-so-secret secrecy...


Officials from some of the top international government spy agencies have flocked to New Zealand’s Queenstown for a secretive meeting of the Five Eyes spying alliance between the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

The secretive meeting is expected to bring FBI director James Comey and CIA chief Mike Pompeo together with the top officials from the Australian, Canadian, UK and New Zealand intelligence and security agencies.

A private jet in Wellington Airport sparked curiosity when its tail number was spotted on Saturday morning. The five-digit number, 10030, revealed the aircraft belongs to the CIA, Stuff NZ reports. A large number of corporate jets also landed in Queenstown on Friday.

Canada halts data sharing with Five Eyes after ‘accidentally’ sending over Canadians’ info

— RT (@RT_com) January 29, 2016

The New Zealand Herald reported about 15 agencies across the five countries are expected to attend the conference, which takes place in Arrowtown, Queenstown. A spokesperson for New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English confirmed that a number of senior officials were coming to a government-hosted conference.

"Due to specific security requirements, we cannot comment further at this time,” English’s spokesperson said.“However, as police have pointed out they are not aware of a visit to Queenstown by a current or former head of state."

The Five Eyes alliance is a surveillance-sharing alliance between the five English-speaking allies dating back more than 70 years. It is currently comprised of the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

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See toon at top...


US storm in an english teacup...

Relations between British and US intelligence agencies are under strain after the New York Times published photographs of the Manchester terror attack in what appears to be a leak from within US intelligence services - the second such leak since the explosion, May 22.

There has always been close cooperation between British and US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Both are founder members of the Five Eyes alliance — along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand — which share sensitive information with each other.

The Five Eyes alliance — formed in the aftermath of World War II — is an agreement to share intelligence between the nations. Britain — for its part — relies upon intelligence from the GCHQ communications agency in Cheltenham, which analyzes communication data, including emails, telephones and other electronic information.

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EU school of spies in cyprus...

In the context of the European Security and Common Defense Policy (ESCP) the EU has a small intelligence service accountable to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for the time being Federica Mogherini. This unit would probably be limited to producing summaries based satellite data and would not be empowered to carry out espionage

Going forward, the Union would have an à la carte programme of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Although provision for the latter was made in the Treaty of Lisbon, it only entered into force in 2017. Its scope is to create pooled capabilities while no European army exists. PESC does not operate on a consensus basis but on a complex system of qualified majority which gives a power of veto to the French-German couple.

It’s in this context that on 19 November 2018, all member states except for Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom, resolved to establish a school for espionage based in Cyprus and under Greek leadership.

This initiative takes place just as the United Kingdom is making preparations to leave the Union. Until now, London had blocked this project to save to its intelligence agencies in the context of the “Five Eyes” (Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and United Kingdom) instead of those of the European Union.

This means that the different Member States will have to surmount the national cultures to pool their methods. This process will be all the more difficult as certain states consider that if a school is based in Cyprus, it will be easier for the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Russia to carry out surveillance of it.


Anoosha Boralessa


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Surveillance of the EU school for spies by the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel and Russia? Their interests would start in knowing the attendants who would become the future spies for Europe... But this location could also be a foil... Wink wink...



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duttonlandia spying on you, aussielander...

At least 80 government authorities, from federal and state law enforcers to departments and local councils, are using legal loopholes to lodge 350,000 requests a year for access to Australians’ telecommunications metadata. These requests are made mostly without warrants and often without external oversight, sidestepping the strict national access regime established controversially three years ago.

The practice was revealed during a parliamentary inquiry that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is demanding be cut short, to allow him to accelerate new powers for security agencies to access more data, including information currently protected by encryption.

Dutton spoke privately to the chairman of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security (PJCIS), Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, earlier this week and has now written to him, urging him to get the committee to move quickly.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in on Thursday, pressuring the PJCIS to stop deliberating and endorse the legislation.

“This is a bill that is before the parliament that I want to see passed in the next fortnight,” Morrison said. “I would urge the committee to complete their review as quickly as possible. Our police, our agencies need these powers now and I would like to see them passed. In fact, I would insist on seeing them passed before the end of the next sitting fortnight.”

The inquiry by the PJCIS has been told dozens of agencies are routinely bypassing the existing restrictions in the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, which permits only 22 security agencies to request access to basic unencrypted data.

Instead, many more across government are requesting subscriber details, including names and addresses and other details such as phone records, call durations and locations, using alternative statutory provisions that allow them to bypass the act’s restriction – including, potentially, agencies among the 22 listed. These provisions allow them to access the information faster and without the oversight of traditional watchdog organisations.

The Communications Alliance, representing internet service providers, other private communications companies and some government agencies, told the PJCIS last week that the requests were putting service providers under pressure because it was increasingly difficult to determine whether they were lawful.

The Communications Alliance fears the new proposed legislation covering encrypted communications will make the situation worse.


The proposed legislation is designed to help security agencies prevent terrorism and combat serious crime, which is increasingly being organised via encrypted communications.

These security agencies say that, without it, they can’t keep up with changing technologies and that Australia’s national security is at risk.

It would give them new and more extensive access to personal information, including the encrypted information on smartphones and other electronic devices. Access notices would be issued and warrants served in secret.

But a wide range of other organisations warn that without very careful consideration, the legislation could create more problems than it solves.

Communications Alliance chief John Stanton said a member survey had found at least 80 government bodies had requested unencrypted data by alternative routes using a different law, the Telecommunications Act.

“That’s an everyday occurrence, roughly in the order of 350,000 times a year,” Stanton said.

He said the list provided “might not be complete”.

The bodies included Centrelink; the former department of immigration and border protection, which is now part of Home Affairs and has carriage of the encryption bill; the Australian Border Force, and other law-enforcement and anti-corruption bodies; the Australian Securities and Investments Commission; the Australian Tax Office; Australia Post; and state-based integrity bodies in the racing and taxi industries.

The list also included the federal departments of defence, agriculture, families, housing and community services, as well as state departments of health, employment, fair trading, fisheries, workplace safety, transport and other regulatory authorities.

The Brisbane City Council and the Fairfield and Bankstown councils in Sydney’s west and Rockdale council in Sydney’s south were also listed.

Stanton said: “We have seen some authority creep, I guess you might call it, in the period since the data retention regime came into place.”

Recalled last week to expand on his remarks, he said the Communications Alliance had raised its concerns with both the Communications Department and the Attorney-General’s Department more than two years ago.

“They simply said: ‘Well, if it’s provided for under law then there’s nothing we can do about it.’ ”

Under section 313 of the Telecommunications Act, service providers are required to give agencies all “reasonably necessary” help in enforcing Australian criminal law, assisting in enforcing foreign law, protecting “public revenue” and safeguarding national security. Access in relation to civil proceedings is not allowed.

Section 287 overrides privacy protections in life-threatening situations.

But section 280(i)(b) provides the biggest loophole, allowing for access “if in any other case the disclosure or use is required or authorised by or under law”.

The act was passed in 1997 under the Howard government.

Similar generic wording is being included in new legislation to establish the new Office of National Intelligence. It would allow some agencies to bypass the Privacy Act in exchanging people’s personal information.

For serious offences, surveillance and interception warrants must be authorised under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act. That authorisation can be given by a judge or a member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.


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a sad case of US exclusive "exceptionalism"...

Washington has asked Ottawa to arrest Meng Wanzhou and to extradite her. This young woman is the financial director and daughter of the founder of Huawei, the Chinese Telecom Giant. She was arrested on 6 December in Canada.

The motive for the war undertaken by Washington against Huawei is deep-rooted and spurious are the justifications.

The heart of the problem is that the Chinese firm uses a system of encryption that prevents the NSA from intercepting its communications. A number of governments and secret services in the non-Western world have begun to equip themselves exclusively with Huawei materials, and are doing so to protect the confidentiality of their communications.

The covers/excuses for this war are theft of intellectual property or in the alternative, trade with Iran and North Korea, and violating rules of competition by benefitting from national subsidies.

The Five Eyes is a system of electronic espionage by Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. They have begun to exclude Huawei from their auctions.

Anoosha Boralessa


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"the five arseholes" is more accurate...

The “Five Eyes” intelligence chiefs are demanding backdoor access to encrypted messaging apps, arguing Big Tech should give up users' privacy to combat terrorism and child predators.

Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can obtain access to data,” the Five Eyes – an alliance of intelligence agency directors from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – declared in an official statement on Tuesday following their annual two-day security summit held in London.

This year’s theme – “emerging threats” – saw the smorgasbord of spooks brainstorming possibilities for eavesdropping on popular messaging apps like WhatsApp without rendering the encryption completely worthless, an idea which was central to last year’s meeting as well. This time, the intelligence agencies invited representatives from the tech industry to “collaborate” on a “set of voluntary principles” for interfacing with law enforcement.

Ministers stressed that law enforcement agencies’ efforts to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes would be hampered if the industry carries out plans to implement end-to-end encryption without the necessary safeguards,” the UK Home Office wrote in its summary of the Five Eyes roundtable with tech executives.

Tech companies and even some senior intelligence agency figures have insisted that placing a backdoor in an encrypted platform makes that platform less secure for everyone – including government entities in need of a secure channel for their own communications – and opens the door to exploitation by criminals and (of course) foreign intelligence services. Former NSA Director Mike Rogers called encryption “foundational to the future” and dismissed the talk of doing away with it as “a waste of time” in a 2016 Atlantic Council event.

But the “encryption problem” has only worsened since last year, with Facebook poised to roll out end-to-end encryption for its Messenger service’s one-billion-plus users. WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is already encrypted. And other apps like Signal and Telegram are growing in popularity, much to the frustration of intelligence operatives reduced to pressing their noses against the digital glass.

The intelligence agencies leaned heavily on children’s safety, highlighting the ever-present threat of pedophiles and child pornography online as proof that encryption is harmful and has to be abolished.

Tech companies were advised to “consider the impacts to the safety of children… when developing their systems and services and deploying encryption,” the Five Eyes warned in their official post-conference statement. “Countering Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse” was the focus of a “digital industry roundtable” that included representatives from Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Snap, Twitter, and Roblox and focused on developing a set of “voluntary principles” to expedite law enforcement activity against child abusers.



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