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By Bruce Sussman
Thu | Sep 13, 2018 | 9:15 AM PDT

The governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand make up an intelligence alliance known as Five Eyes.

Leaders from the five governments issued new principles in the privacy versus security debate. 

And if you're a staunch privacy advocate, you may not like it.

It sure sounds like the governments have agreed to do some arm-twisting of technology companies to find a way for government access to encrypted data in the future.

Does this mean a mandatory back door? Five Eyes never uses those words.

3 statements by Five Eyes on privacy vs. security as it relates to encryption: 

  1. "Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute. It is an established principle that appropriate government authorities should be able to seek access to otherwise private information when a court or independent authority has authorized such access based on established legal standards."
  2. "The increasing gap between the ability of law enforcement to lawfully access data and their ability to acquire and use the content of that data is a pressing international concern that requires urgent, sustained attention and informed discussion on the complexity of the issues and interests at stake. Otherwise, court decisions about legitimate access to data are increasingly rendered meaningless, threatening to undermine the systems of justice established in our democratic nations."
  3. "We are always willing to work with technology providers in order to meet our public safety responsibilities and ensure the ability of citizens to protect their sensitive data. Law enforcement agencies in our countries need technology providers to assist with the execution of lawful orders. Currently there are some challenges arising from the increasing use and sophistication of encryption technology in relation to which further assistance is needed."

Read the newly issued Five Eyes intelligence alliance 2018 statement of principles for yourself, and see if this is good news for security or bad news for privacy if these principles are carried out.

In case you don't have time to read the whole thing, here is how it ends.

"Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions."

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