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    ‘Five Eyes’ States Mulling 'Dangerous Strategy' on Encryption - Rights Group

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    The intelligence partnership known as "The Five Eyes" would risk the Internet users' security in case they would bypass encryption by means of force, a rights group warned on Monday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The governments that make up the intelligence partnership known as "The Five Eyes" would put the rights and security of all internet users at risk if they force tech firms to build back doors to bypass encryption, a rights group warned on Monday.

    "‘The Five Eyes’ will meet on June 26-27, 2017, in Ottawa to discuss how to bypass encryption. The governments may pursue a dangerous strategy that will subvert the rights and cybersecurity of all internet users," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

    Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States participate in the intelligence sharing partnership.

    At their meeting in Ottawa, Australia plans to raise the need for new restrictions on encryption built into popular messaging applications.

    The governments could try to force technology companies to give their law enforcement agencies "back door" access into all digital communications in order to fight terrorism.

    But digital security experts warn that companies cannot build a "back door" that can only be used by law enforcement, while keeping out bad actors.

    "If the Five Eyes countries force tech companies to build encryption back doors, it would set a troubling global precedent that will be followed by authoritarian regimes seeking the same," Human Rights Watch senior internet researcher Cynthia Wong said.

    Wong explained the five governments should promote strong encryption instead of punching holes in it, "which would lead to a race to the bottom for global cybersecurity and privacy."

    Users will be more vulnerable to harm, online and offline, if technology firms are forced to weaken the security of their products, Human Rights Watch added.

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    Tags:
    encryption, internet, security, rights, Human Rights Watch, United States
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