We had the Haughey Era, Sean Doherty and two Commissioners relieved of their Duties. What now? Are we going down the path of Phone Tapping again under a different Brolly? We need no Police State, it will never happen, hopefully?

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Garda chief wants new law to allow ‘back door’ access to personal devices

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

iPhones, Whatsapp and online storage should have a ‘back door key’ to allow police to fight serious crime, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said.

The Garda chief wants new laws which would allow the force to compel the owners of encrypted devices to hand over their passwords or encryption keys.

“If there was a key that could be used by law enforcement so that we could get to data and evidence of crime, that would be very useful to us,” he said.

“We understand entirely the issues around very strong, almost undefeatable, encryption there is in certain places. One would wonder why that’s there.”

It is the first time a commissioner has called for such access to personal technology and his comments will be noted by international police forces as well as politicians, security agencies, technology firms and civil liberties groups.

The outgoing government had plans to equip a new online safety commission with powers which could see it demand access to encrypted or locked iPhones and private messages.

However, its legislative plans died when the Dáil was dissolved last month and it will now be up to whatever parties enter power to draw up their own proposals.

Mr Harris said such powers would be “very useful” in investigating “serious crime, like child abuse”. He also questioned why absolute encryption is necessary.

Asked if he favoured legislation requiring the handing over of digital passwords in criminal investigations, Mr Harris told the Irish Independent that “it should be part” of garda resources in their efforts to fight crime.

“I think in certain cases around very serious crime such as the possession of child abuse images or other serious offences, yes, that should be a power that is open to us, and it should therefore then be part of our ability to search for evidence.”

this is not unprecedented as you will see what can be done in UK https://eachother.org.uk/police-can-download-smartphones-data-without-warrant/

It is almost 18 months ago since former RUC PSNI senior officer was appointed at midnight as Garda Commissioner in a Dublin city station.  As I said before, it was like the signing in at the Grand Lodge.  Present also was Charlie Flanagan, TD and other faceless individuals.  I cannot get a handle on Drew Harris.  I know he has a fixation with the border and naturally with the IRA of years gone by because of the tragic death of his father (car bomb).  But now, we are in Peace times and Sinn Fein have changed the whole playing field of Irish politics, even for Drew Harris.  The biggest threat to the Irish state right now is Gangland, Gangsters and of course the main ingredient Illegal Drugs.  Towns around Ireland, according to FF Leader Micheal Martin, are under siege and the people are living in Fear.  I don’t think this latest wet dream at Garda HQ will get even to the starting post and I am so relieved, like millions of others.  A man’s home is his castle; a man’s phone is his privacy.  This is called Democracy.  I am not against the Gardai seizing phones off well known drug dealers and gathering information – this is normal selective policing in any jurisdiction but if you read the above it is darker and shadier and could be abused against innocent people by Rogue Gardai and let’s face facts, there are at least 2,000+ of them out there.  As the article above states in its closing comments – with the incoming Government – this proposal or idea of Commissioner Harris will not get daylight.  In the meantime the people of Drogheda, Coolock, Tallaght, Longford, Sligo, Cork, live under fear daily and especially at night.  Enough said for today.  Fred

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