On 24 November, seventy civil society organizations, companies, elected officials, and cybersecurity experts, including Global Encryption Coalition members, published an open letter to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak highlighting their concerns with the threat that the United Kingdom’s Online Safety Bill poses to end-to-end encryption. The Open Rights Group was one of those organisations.
Dear Prime Minister Sunak,
With cyber attacks becoming ever-more frequent and sophisticated, the reliance of UK citizens and businesses on end-to-end encryption to keep themselves safe and secure has never been greater.
Encryption is critical to ensuring Internet users are protected online, to building economic security through a pro-business UK economy that can weather the cost of living crisis, and to assuring national security. As you begin your new role as Prime Minister, the undersigned civil society organisations and companies, including members of the Global Encryption Coalition, urge you and your government to ensure that encryption is not weakened.
Despite its intention to make the UK safer, the Online Safety Bill currently contains clauses that would erode end-to-end encryption in private messaging. As noted in a recent letter by leading UK digital rights organisations, the Bill poses serious threats to privacy and security in the UK “by creating a new power to compel online intermediaries to use ‘accredited technologies’ to conduct mass scanning and surveillance of all citizens on private messaging channels.” Leading cybersecurity experts have made clear that even message scanning, mistakenly cited as safe and effective by its proponents, actually “creates serious security and