Each awful terrorist attack brings with it government demands of an "internet clampdown", shorthand for increased censorship and compromised encryption to aid surveillance.

In Australia, the Turnbull government wants to follow Britain's example, and introduce the proposed "technology capability notices" that oblige internet providers and telcos to decrypt data in real-time if the authorities order it.

Depending on how the government-forming goes for Theresa May in the UK, she could lead the country in a Brexit from the internet, introducing strict regulations and logging of what people do online.

It's highly unlikely that an "internet clampdown" will result in anything else than the general population becoming less secure online. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed nothing much good will come out of such a move.


Hand over decryption keys for scrambled communications to government agencies with track records of not being able to keep their deepest secrets safe from criminals and foreign spies?

We only need to look at the recent WannaCry ransomware epidemic to realise what a terrible idea that is.

Nevertheless, moves are afoot to make it to happen. The Five-Eyes countries - New Zealand, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States - will meet soon to discuss how to implement an "internet clampdown" and to break encrypted communications.

That might make it easier for spy agencies (and criminals) to read our emails, but it's not going to stop the bad guys from using unbreakable, strong end-to-end encryption.

Implementing strong encryption isn't that hard technically. If there's a government clampdown on its use, a marketplace to supply secure communications would spring up immediately, maybe in Switzerland.

Now you have encrypted communications going via a jurisdiction out of reach for police and intelligence agencies. Privacy-minded users (and this would be companies wanting to keep their intellectual property and other information safe from economic state espionage) are using virtual private networking with strong encryption; what can be done?

It's highly unlikely an "internet clampdown" will result in anything else than the general population becoming less secure online.


Not that long ago, nothing much could be done as the internet routes around damage. It is however a technology problem that can and has been solved.

Technology is available that will detect and identify almost any type of encrypted communication. While the systems can't break the encryption quickly and economically, they can block the traffic in question.

You have a choice then: have your information spied upon silently, or be blocked from communicating. That of course spells the end of the free and open internet, the value of which comes from unfettered and growing amount of communication and information sharing.

A hobbled internet where users are less secure than today, and a world where only the bad guys are protected by strong encryption provided by shady brokers as a lucrative business; remind me again who we're fighting against?