British-born Khalid Masood sent an encrypted message moments before killing four people last week by ploughing his car into pedestrians and fatally stabbing a copper as he tried to get into parliament in an 82-second attack that struck terror in the heart of London.
British interior minister Amber Rudd said that technology companies must cooperate more with law enforcement agencies and should stop offering a “secret place for terrorists to communicate” using encrypted messages.
The only problem with this claim is that even if the spooks had a back door to Masood’s phone they would have had to have gone through a mountain of data of someone who they did not suspect was a terrorist, read the correct message and rushed to respond.
There have been lots of calls for messaging services to either abandon encryption or to allow the government to monitor them 24/7. Practically this means checking the emails of known terrorists to see if they use a list of terrorist type words. This does not work if they don’t or are not known terrorists or have terrorist connections.