Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Eyes Spies, Ministers to Discuss Digital Terror Tactics at Ottawa Meeting

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Five Eyes Spies, Ministers to Discuss Digital Terror Tactics at Ottawa Meeting

Article excerpt

Five Eyes spies to gather in Ottawa


OTTAWA - The ability of terrorists to shield their communications from police and spies will be a focus for the Five Eyes intelligence alliance at a closed-door meeting in Ottawa this month.

Public security ministers and attorneys general from Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand will gather with their intelligence officials for highly sensitive talks during the last week of June.

The secret sessions follow a spate of terrorist attacks in England that underscore the international alliance's concerns about the threat of homegrown extremism, including the possibility of attacks by fighters returning from foreign conflicts.

Security officials are worried about the widespread availability of encryption tools and applications that can allow extremists to more easily communicate without their phone calls and texts being intercepted.

Civil libertarians argue the right of law-abiding people to communicate in private should not be sacrificed in the name of fighting terrorism by giving authorities the means to crack encryption or build back doors into security programs.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this week the remarkable technologies billions of people rely on every day -- whether it be the iPhone, Twitter or Facebook -- are also being used by those who seek to do harm.

"We need even stronger co-operation from the big social media and messaging platforms in the fight against terrorism and the extremism which spawns it," Turnbull told the House of Representatives.

He said Australia would use the Ottawa meeting to determine what more can be done with the communications and technology industries to ensure terrorists and organized criminals cannot operate with impunity in "ungoverned digital spaces" online.

The first Five Eyes ministerial meeting was held in 2013. It provides a chance for the allies to discuss key subjects of common interest including cybersecurity and radicalization to violence. The so-called Quintet of attorneys general has been meeting annually since 2009 to talk about legal issues related to international crime-fighting and security. …

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