It's always nice to know that our leaders understand what they are doing, to rest easy at night because our politicians have their fingers on the pulse of our society and are completely up to date and on the job.
And then we have the real world.
After Cockwomble Cameron pulled on his running shoes and legged it leaving a great steaming pile of shit behind him we had a new Prime Minister, Theresa "Police State" May went from home secretary with responsibility for imposing the security state on us and instead took over running the country into the ground.
Her replacement was clearly chosen as being the best person for the job and someone who knew the value of information and therefore the sort of person who surrounded themselves with well informed and knowledgeable advisors. Nope, actually we got Amber "Not a Clue" Rudd.
Now a few days ago London made the news for many of the wrong reasons, a person with a very tenuous relationship with reality decided to run people down and then attack the palace of Westminster. His actual reason for doing so is still subject to debate, he could have hated the government or his sky fairy could have told him to do it, that doesn't matter, what is important is that our Politicians were attacked by a knife wielding nutter who had already killed several people. So front page news in a way that other knife wielding people driving down other people never is.
This isn't to lessen the deaths, the victims of this incident didn't deserve to have their lives cut short by some fuck wit with a fantasy relationship with the world. Instead I am trying to say that this event involved our politicians and so received far more attention than other knife attacks, other police who have been killed in the line of duty. Almost as if our Politicians are more important than the rest of us.
Anyway as a result of this incident our new Home secretary has jumped on her bosses old bandwagon and is pushing the whole, national security, protect people against terrorists meme of no privacy, no secrecy, government knows all.
Under "Police State" May we ended up with a whole load of new laws and permissions for the security services to monitor us and our digital lives, to archive same and to access those archives under some fairly flimsy reasons and we are looking at changes to national security and secrecy to now simply be anything the government considers concerning or critical of it or the ruling party (plus significant prison sentences).
But that clearly isn't enough for "Not a clue" Rudd who now wants to take away our #Hashtags!
The government minister responsible for our security, the person who is pushing to have backdoors forced onto every online messaging and communication system said the following:
“The best people who understand the technology, who understand the necessary hashtags to stop this stuff ever being put up, not just taken down, but ever being put up in the first place are going to be them.”
Hashtags, the necessary hashtags. To stop this stuff ever being put up!
HASHTAGS ! ! ! !
This is a person, politician, government minister, drooling idiot, who wants backdoors put into all communication software so legitimate authorities can access all communications. No more encryption she cries, "end to end encryption is absolutely unacceptable...there should be no place for terrorists to hide" she says.
She has, in fact, arranged a meeting later this week to discuss these back doors into encryption software with a number of digital companies and service providers. So the security services can, with the proper judicial authority of course, bypass encryption and read all those messages people are sending each other.
You know, the ones where terrorists are plotting attacks, or people are talking about the sex they had last night, or their banking details, or political views. All those sort of messages. But everything will be fine because the security services will only be using those backdoors into encrypted communications when they have a judge's permission in cases where there is a clear threat to national security, or anything the government considers critical.
But everything will be safe, because hackers will never, ever use such backdoors for criminal reasons, all those hackers out there, spotty teens in their bedrooms, eastern European criminal gangs, Chinese tech hackers, none of them would dare to use these backdoors without the permission of a judge.
And then we have the data itself, the security services will need to access message history, they will want to see old messages as well as recent ones, they will want to see who the terrorist (or someone critical of the Party) has been talking too, and who those people have been talking to. So they will need access to communications archives, OR, they will need to archive those messages themselves if the service provider doesn't.
So every message sent by a terrorist, or someone who could be a terrorist, or someone who has been talking to a terrorist, or someone who is a threat to the Nation / Government / Tory Party, or someone who has been declared an extremist by someone or other, everything they send and receive, millions of messages a day, billions a year.
But don't worry, just as hackers will never access those backdoors and encryption flaws, so too will all that archived data be safe from access by criminals and anyone else without a totally legitimate reason to access it. It's not as if politicians, councils, the Social Services, the DWP, the people who empty your rubbish bins or any of a host of other organisations will be able to access that data. Or criminals will be able to get your data from them.
Your data will be safe, the government minister in charge of national security is saying so.
And you can trust her, because she knows all about Hashtags!
Oh one more thing.
It is impossible, that's IMPOSSIBLE, for the security services of one country to force backdoors onto the software of service providers worldwide. Without censoring the internet itself you cannot stop people using European or US based encryption tools for their messages. The government, and Amber "#necessaryhashtag" Rudd can force UK based companies to fit backdoors but it is trivial to switch to non backdoor encryption.
In fact the only possible way in which this can be enforced is that encryption itself becomes a crime for UK citizens, not the contents of the message but simply sending messages that the UK government and security services cannot access. Text messages, pictures, video files, any of them can contain communications, how about bank transfers, a simple system of sending sums of money between accounts where each amount represents one of more words. Can't have that encrypted because your bank transitions could be terrorists talking.
When encryption becomes a crime online bank transitions become a criminal act, consider the implications of that. Amazon uses encryption to secure your payments, what happens in the UK when that becomes a crime?
Ridiculous, is it, or isn't it?
Because I'm Paranoid, but at least I know what a #Hashtag is.