This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Government to abandon all ideas of trying to ban strong encryption.

Strong encryption is used every day by citizens, businesses, the government, even this very web site. Encryption exists, and like trying to ban multiplication, it is pointless to try to stop it. A ban, or forcing back doors, can only harm law abiding citizens and have no impact on criminals.

More details

"If a British citizen with an iPhone purchased in France and roaming in Germany iMessages a Chinese citizen roaming in Sweden using an iPhone purchased in Denmark, which government's keys need to be inserted in the iMessage communications by an American company (Apple) legally based in Luxembourg using servers hosted in Eire?"

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

11,277 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 18 January 2016

The Government is not seeking to ban or limit encryption. The Government recognises the important role that encryption plays in keeping people’s personal data and intellectual property safe online.

Read the response in full

This Government recognises the importance of encryption, which helps keep people's personal data and intellectual property safe from theft by cyber means. It is fundamental to our everyday use of the internet. Without the development of strong encryption allowing the secure transfer of banking details there would be no online commerce. As Baroness Shields made clear in the House of Lords on 27 October 2015, the Government does not require the provision of a back-door key or support arbitrarily weakening the security of internet services.

Clearly as technology evolves at an ever increasing rate, it is only right that we make sure we keep up, to keep our citizens safe. There shouldn’t be a guaranteed safe space for terrorists, criminals and paedophiles to operate beyond the reach of law.

The Government is clear we need to find a way to work with industry as technology develops to ensure that, with clear oversight and a robust legal framework, the police and intelligence agencies can, subject to a warrant which can only be issued using a strict authorisation process where it is necessary and proportionate, access the content of communications of terrorists and criminals in order to resolve police investigations and prevent criminal acts.

There are already requirements in law for Communication Service Providers in certain circumstances to remove encryption that they have themselves applied from intercepted communications. This is subject to authorisation by the Secretary of State who must consider the interception of communications to be necessary and proportionate. The Investigatory Powers Bill will not ban or further limit encryption.

Home Office

Other parliamentary business

Report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill

On 11 February the Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill published its report into the bill. The Committee (of MPs and Members of the House of Lords) was appointed to look closely at the draft bill and has made recommendations about the Bill.

During its inquiry the Joint Committee took evidence from Adrian Kennard, who created the petition you signed.

You can read the evidence which Adrian gave here:

The Committee identified a number of areas on which it would like to see the Government provide greater clarity, including on encryption. In relation to encryption the Committee stated that:

"The Home Secretary assured the Committee that its approach to encryption is not designed to compromise security or require the creation of ‘backdoors’. The Committee welcomes this clarification, but is concerned that this needs to be made clear in the drafting of the legislation".

You can read the Committee's full report here:

You can find out more about the Joint Committee here:

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