The former head of GCHQ has launched a defence of end-to-end encryption in his first interview since leaving the agency.
Appearing on this morning’s Today programme, Robert Hannigan described the technology as “overwhelmingly a good thing”, saying it “keeps us all safe and secure”.
Following recent terror attacks, Theresa May claimed tech firms offer terrorists a place to hide – but Hannigan said the solution isn’t to water down encryption in apps like WhatsApp.
“I don’t advocate building in backdoors,” he said. “It’s not a good idea to weaken security for everybody in order to tackle a minority.”
Instead, the police and intelligence agencies should target the phones or laptops used by people abusing encryption, the ex spy chief argued.
End-to-end encryption is more secure than normal encryption because the firms providing the service can’t decrypt the data.
“You can’t un-invent end-to-end encryption […],” Hannigan added. “You can’t legislate it away,”.