If there’s one thing British writers do vastly better than we Americans, it’s using subtle but cutting wit to ridicule others’ complete stupidity. Now the United Kingdom’s own prime minister David Cameron has given them quite an opportunity to use their talents after he said he wanted to prevent mobile apps such as WhatsApp from using encryption that would potentially block intelligence agencies from being able to read everyone’s messages. Thankfully, our friends across the pond haven’t let us down — below we’ve found you the four funniest British responses to Cameron’s attack on encryption.
- The Guardian’s James Ball points out that Cameron clearly doesn’t understand the implications of what he’s proposing, which he chalks up to a total lack of understanding of the technology involved. He then says Cameron has less knowledge of technology than “a concussed kitten on a ketamine trip.”
- The Register points out that Cameron isn’t the only head of state who’s eyeing an encryption ban, as the government of Iran is doing it as well. It also laughs at the idea that anyone in Silicon Valley will pay attention to anything Cameron thinks: “The top technology firms are in active conflict with the US government on the issue, so the idea that they would roll over and heed the wishes of America’s former ruler is optimistic to say the least.”
- Computerworld UK’s Glyn Moody wonders if “Cameron could be so stupid as to undermine encryption?”(If his work on implementing disastrous ISP porn filters is any indication, we’re betting the answer is “yes.”)At any rate, Moody takes just two sentences to completely demolish Cameron’s latest idea: “Thus Cameron’s blatant attempt to win a few votes in the wake of the Paris murders by sounding ‘tough’ would not only threaten basic human rights in the UK, expose British citizens to greater risks when they went online, and endanger every company that has an Internet connection, it would probably destroy the healthy digital start-up ecosystem that is starting to form in this country. Not bad for a single, stupid idea.”
- The Guardian (again) does a nice job of talking with British security experts such as Graham Cluley, who said Cameron was living in “cloud cuckoo land,” and Preston Byrne, the chief operating officer of Eris Industries who said that Cameron’s plan could force people to flee the U.K. for “more liberal climes” such as “China, Zimbabwe or Iraq.”