Mark Rowley, the national police lead for counter-terrorism, said companies needed to think about their “corporate social responsibility” in creating products that made it hard for the authorities to access material during investigations.
“Some of the acceleration of technology, whether it’s communications or other spheres, can be set up in different ways.”
Basically Rowley is concerned that technology companies are making products which his staff cannot break into. He did not say which technology companies were refusing to write rubbish products, but he seemed to be hinting at Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
He added that the post-Snowden era has created an environment where some technology companies are less comfortable working with law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
“We all love the benefit of the internet and all the rest of it, but we need their support in making sure that they’re doing everything possible to stop their technology being exploited by terrorists. I’m saying that needs to be front and centre of their thinking and for some it is and some it isn’t.”
Rowley’s comments echo those made in January by John Sawers, the former head of Britain’s foreign intelligence service, who said trust between technology firms and governments had been shattered and needed to be rebuilt.
But he should not worry too much. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to give him and the other security and intelligence services even more powers to monitor Internet communications should he win an election on May 7.