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India joins UK-led fight against encrypted online messages

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India joins UK-led fight against encrypted online messages:


Context:

India joins UK-led fight against encrypted online messages.

  • The UK and India are joined by the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
  • It marks an expansion of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of nations, a global alliance on intelligence issues, to include India and Japan.

What’s the demand?

The campaign is against end-to-end encryption of messages by social media giants such as Facebook, which they say hinder law enforcement by blocking all access to them.

  • The countries also asked companies to not to “blind themselves” to illegal activity on their platforms, including child abuse images.

What’s the issue with end-to end encryption?

The signatories claimed that end-to-end encryption policies like those employed by the social media giant erode the public’s safety online.

  • When end-to-end encryption is applied with no access to content, it severely undermines the ability of companies to take action against illegal activity on their own platforms.
  • It also prevents law enforcement investigating and prosecuting the most serious crimes being committed on these services such as online child sexual abuse, grooming and terrorist content.

What is end-to-end encryption?

It means that the messages are visible only to the sender and the recipient, and not even to the tech company which provides it, for example, WhatsApp, or any third-party.

How it works? (Have a brief overview):

Encryption technology involves scrambling or jumbling of the data being transferred in such a way that it can be deciphered only by the sender and the receiver.

  1. In the first step, when a sender sends a message, it is in the form of Plaintext that is ordinary readable text.
  2. Next, as soon as the data gets onto the network, it gets encrypted that is a process of converting ordinary readable text into a code with the help of special keys.
  3. Next, when the same data reaches its intended destination, it is decrypted that is a process of converting back the coded data to readable text with the help of special keys.

Finally, the intended receiver gets the message in the form of Cipher text that is the readable text obtained after decryption.

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Sources: the Hindu.