Home secretary Amber Rudd has admitted that she not only doesn't understand encryption, but argued that she doesn't need to, and reiterated her call for technology companies to weaken computer security for the benefit of law enforcement agencies.
Rudd has seemingly carried on in the role of home secretary where her predecessor, Theresa May, now Prime Minister, left off - taking a hard line on technology and internet companies for the supposed aid they provide to terrorists and other ne'er do wells, particularly child abusers
Appearing at a Spectator magazine fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference yesterday, Rudd was asked whether she knew what she was talking about on the issue of encryption - and admitted flat out that she doesn't.
However, she claimed that didn't matter, and then accused technology experts of "patronising" and "sneering" at politicians who try to regulate their industry.
According to the BBC, she argued that the technology industry must do more to help the authorities access encrypted messages on services, particularly WhatsApp, that she argued were "helping criminals".
She said: "It's so easy to be patronised in this business. We will do our best to understand it.
"We will take advice from other people but I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right.
"I don't need to understand how encryption works to understand how it's helping - end-to-end encryption - the criminals. I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that."
Michael Beckerman, CEO of the Internet Association appearing on the same panel, pointed out that internet security is based on mathematics, and that security can't be weakened for the benefit of one actor - governments - without weakening it, full stop.
"I understand the principle of end-to-end encryption - it can't be unwrapped. That's what has been developed," she said.
"What I am saying is the companies who are developing that should work with us. We don't get that help - although we sometimes get it in a fulsome way after an event has taken place."
And, this morning, Rudd doubled-down on her argument in her speech to conference.
After revealing a joint Anglo-Canadian project called Project Arachnid that can, she suggested, crawl the internet identifying images of child sexual abuse, helping to get them taken down, she continued her assertion that technology companies should do more to help governments tap internet communications services.
"End-to-end encryption services, like Whatsapp, are being used by paedophiles. I do not accept it is right that companies should allow them and other criminals to operate beyond the reach of law enforcement. There are other platforms and emerging trends that are equally worrying.
"We must require the industry to move faster and more aggressively. They have the resources and there must be greater urgency. If not, the next generation of our children will have been needlessly failed."
Amber Rudd, meanwhile, not only has Conservative Party leadership pretensions, but is rumoured to already be banking donations and to have hired polling firm CTF Partners to help her launch a bid.
However, her stock is so low that she would probably be trounced against any likely rival in a Party vote, if Conservative MPs were somehow persuaded to select her as one of the two candidates to be put to the Party membership for the final vote.
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