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26 Jan, 2018 16:40

‘I’m coming for you Crypto’: May makes a beeline for bitcoin

‘I’m coming for you Crypto’: May makes a beeline for bitcoin

Theresa May and her cronies are starting to sound like a broken record. The UK PM has once more pointed out how encryption tech and cryptocurrencies can be used by criminals, urging people to be “cautious” with bitcoin.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Prime Minister May warned about the dangers of cryptocurrencies… while hardly giving the clear impression that she actually understands the tech at all.

“I think in areas like cryptocurrencies like bitcoin we should be looking at these very seriously precisely because of the way they can be used, particularly by criminals,” May said.

“It is something that has been developing. I think it is something that we do need to look at.”

In a separate speech, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond reiterated the Prime Minister’s reservations about the cryptocurrency, calling for caution and regulation.

“I am interested in bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at bitcoin,” he said.

“Look, it is a very interesting, new development. I think we should be cautious about bitcoin.

“And possibly, we do need to look at the way we regulate this environment before the amount of outstanding bitcoin becomes large enough to be systemically important in the global economy.

“It’s not there yet, but it could get there soon.

“What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we don’t inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.”

Following the comments by May and Hammond on Thursday the price of bitcoin plunged, dropping £1,100 ($1,567) in only a day.

It wasn’t just bitcoin that the Davos duo have their eyes set on. Theresa May took a swipe at tech companies that she feels should be building back-doors for the government to allow them access to the encrypted messages of criminals. 

“Technology companies still need to do more in stepping up to their responsibilities for dealing with harmful and illegal online activity,” May said.

“Companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.

“These companies have some of the best brains in the world. They must focus their brightest and best on meeting these fundamental social responsibilities.”

“And just as these big companies need to step up, so we also need cross-industry responses because smaller platforms can quickly become home to criminals and terrorists,” May added.

“We have seen that happen with Telegram. And we need to see more co-operation from smaller platforms like this. No-one wants to be known as ‘the terrorists’ platform’ or the first choice app for pedophiles.”

What May doesn't seem to comprehend is that software with end-to-end encryption cannot be decoded, even by the app developer. Governments therefore fear that such software can be used by extremists to plot attacks on Western targets without tipping off the intelligence agencies… but on the plus side, it is definitely a safe way to send nudes.

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