Home secretary Amber Rudd denies she wanted an encryption ban and says progress is being made with tech giants

 
Rebecca Smith
Rudd has said there shouldn't be a safe place for terrorists to exchange information
Rudd has said there shouldn't be a safe place for terrorists to exchange information (Source: Getty)

Home secretary Amber Rudd has denied she suggested an encryption ban, and said the government was making "good progress" with firms using end-to-end encryption.

In March, Rudd came in for criticism after saying end-to-end encryption on messaging apps like WhatsApp and iMessage was "completely unacceptable".

Read more: WhatsApp encryption is "completely unacceptable" warns home secretary

"We need to make sure that organisations like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that, don't provide a secret place for terrorist to communicate with each other," she said in the wake of the attack on parliament, when it emerged the attacker Khalid Masood used WhatsApp minutes before the attack.

Speaking today on the Andrew Marr show, when asked about banning end-to-end encryption in its entirety and the damage it would do to the internet, Rudd said: "I never did suggest it."

"What I have always said is the internet provides an incredibly important place for people to do business, encryption is important for banking, for everything else as you say," she said. "But we need to do better to stop terrorists being able to use it."

"We are making good progress with the firms that have put in place end-to-end encryption. Some of them are being more constructive than others, but we will continue to build on that," Rudd said.

"The area that I am most concerned about is the internet companies who are continuing to publish the hate publications, the hate material that is contributing to radicalising people in this country."

Discussing terrorism threats and the UK's security in the wake of the Manchester attack last week which left 22 dead, Rudd said the police and security services have the tools they need and further legislation isn't required.

She said the government has started to use temporary exclusion orders (TEOs) for the first time; until recently, zero had been issued. Rudd would not disclose the number that have now been issued.

Introduced by David Cameron during his tenure as Prime Minister, the TEO are meant to disrupt and control the return to the UK of British citizens who have engaged in terrorism-related activity abroad.

They are approved by a judge before being issued by the home secretary and make it illegal for the person in question to return to the UK without informing the authorities and agreeing to be monitored.

Their travel documents are cancelled and they are also added to watchlists.

Read more: Here's what Tim Berners-Lee had to say about encryption after Rudd comments

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