Daily Archives: 2010-03-13

What's worrying the spooks?

As I mentioned a few days ago, the security services have some concerns about the Digital Economy Bill:

If evading blocking systems becomes a mainstream activity (and there’s said to be 6-7 million illegal file sharers in the UK) then it will be used, almost automatically, by subversive groups — preventing the spooks from examining the traffic patterns and comprehending the threat.

There seems to be some confusion about quite what is worrying the security services. Last October, The Times reported that “both the security services and police are concerned about the plans, believing that threatening to cut off pirates will increase the likelihood that they will escape detection by turning to encryption”, and this meme that the concern is encryption has been repeated ever since.

However, I think that Patrick Foster, the Times media correspondent, got hold of the wrong end of the stick. The issue isn’t encryption but traffic analysis.

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