The Obama administration just responded to the 104,109 people who asked the president to stand up for strong encryption. The response—penned by Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Ed Felton [sic] and Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel—acknowledged the importance of the conversation but offered no conclusions. Instead, they asked us to share our thoughts on encryption. That means we need the help of Internet users worldwide who care about security.
As the fatal Paris attacks altered the security agenda in France, French daily Le Monde, reported that the French government now considers banning access to free Wi-Fi and the Tor anonymity network.Le Monde viewed an internal document from the Ministry of Interior which has a report by the French Department of Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs (DLPAJ) that lists two proposed bills – one around the State of Emergency and the other on combating counter-terrorism.The State of Emergency
According to French newspaper Le Monde, authorities in Paris are considereing banning the use of TOR, a service that anonymises users on the internet. It would be one of a range of measures passed in response to last month’s terror attacks, and also a difficult-to-enforce attack on internet privacy.
Le Monde obtained an internal document laying out two proposed changes to be brought before France’s parliament. The first addresses the use of “shared or open” Wi-Fi networks during a state of emergency: according to the police, suspects can use public Wi-Fi networks to communicate without being tracked down, so the legislation would shut down public Wi-Fi hotspots during a state of emergency (like the one established after the attacks in Paris).
The second measure would propose “to block or forbid communications of the Tor network”, and not just during a state of emergency. TOR (the onion router) is a volunteer-run anonymising network, which bounces user’s data requests around the globe, making it very difficult (but not impossible!) to find out who’s behind the computer screen.