Theresa May’s golden oldie

Cory Doctorow, commenting on May’s latest outburst:

Theresa May doesn’t understand technology very well, so she doesn’t actually know what she’s asking for.

For Theresa May’s proposal to work, she will need to stop Britons from installing software that comes from software creators who are out of her jurisdiction. The very best in secure communications are already free/open source projects, maintained by thousands of independent programmers around the world. They are widely available, and thanks to things like cryptographic signing, it is possible to download these packages from any server in the world (not just big ones like Github) and verify, with a very high degree of confidence, that the software you’ve downloaded hasn’t been tampered with…

So here, according to Cory, is what she would need to do to implement her policy:

  • All Britons’ communications must be easy for criminals, voyeurs and foreign spies to intercept

  • Any firms within reach of the UK government must be banned from producing secure software

  • All major code repositories, such as Github and Sourceforge, must be blocked

  • Search engines must not answer queries about web-pages that carry secure software

  • Virtually all academic security work in the UK must cease — security research must only take place in proprietary research environments where there is no onus to publish one’s findings

  • All data packets in and out of the country, and within the country, must be subject to Chinese-style deep-packet inspection and any packets that appear to originate from secure software must be dropped

  • Existing walled gardens (like Ios and games consoles) must be ordered to ban their users from installing secure software

  • Anyone visiting the country from abroad must have their smartphones held at the border until they leave

  • Proprietary operating system vendors (Microsoft and Apple) must be ordered to redesign their operating systems as walled gardens that only allow users to run software from an app store, which will not sell or give secure software to Britons

  • Free/open source operating systems — that power the energy, banking, ecommerce, and infrastructure sectors — must be banned outright.

Oh, and of course, at the same time the UK must remain “the best place in the world to do business”