Technology firm says it is quitting the UK because of government internet surveillance plans

       , a British technology firm which is attempting to build a peer-to-peer social network that respects its users’ privacy, says it is going to leave the UK.

The Brighton-based firm, which has raised over $100,000 via crowdfunding to build alternatives to what it calls the Spyware 2.0 approach of Facebook and Google, says it was left with no other choice following the election of the Conservative party to power last week.

In a blog post entitled “So long, and thanks for all the fish”, the company explained its position:

the ramifications of electing a Tory government make it impossible for us to carry out our mission of creating technology that protects human rights and resists mass surveillance while living in the UK

The issue? In part, the British government’s plans for a Snooper’s charter that would widen mass internet surveillance, the scrapping of the Human Right’s Act and Prime Minister David Cameron’s bone-headed scheme to block messaging services unless they have a government backdoor.

Aral BalkanAs founder Aral Balkan explains:

we’re not going to stay in a country where we might be forced to backdoor our products (and possibly not even be allowed to tell anyone about it)” says it is not sure which country it will relocate to yet, but it plans to make the move “within a couple of months”

I suspect won’t be the last firm to make the same decision to leave if the UK government’s plans for internet surveillance go ahead. :(

After all, if you were a large financial firm in the City of London would you really feel comfortable knowing that your communications were not secure?

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4 Responses

  1. Spryte

    May 13, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    After all, if you were a large financial firm in the City of London would you really feel comfortable knowing that your communications were not secure?”

    And what if you are a customer? Would you consider changing institutions?

  2. Anon

    May 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Hopefully this will be the start of things to come. Perhaps the economic pressure will force the government to do a U-turn on this asinine policy.

  3. Coyote

    May 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Well, despite them being disappointed (as they should be - as everyone should be) at the government, at least they’re leaving with a tribute to Douglas Adams. I guess that is something, even if the reason is government policy going backward instead of forward when it comes to safety/security/privacy (all three are related) of others (ironically including themselves and their families) when claiming the opposite. Quite a serious reason, though.

  4. Publio Vestrone

    May 13, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    Does anyone else see that the kind of coercive intrusion that is driving out of the UK is only going to get worse? And it’s not just the Tories. Once the politicians lock in this kind of invasive control, they won’t undo it, no matter which party is in power. Government by political states---however “democratic” they purport to be---is despotism that hasn’t managed to become absolute yet. Being “free” to choose the tyrants who will rule you is not freedom at all.

    It’s time the human species recognized that politics is a broken system, filled with predators. Government is a service…or at least it’s supposed to be. Fire them all. “None of the above” should be on the ballot. Let the market fill the demand, and let these political clowns see if they can survive if they have to do honest, productive work.

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