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A global network of intelligence agencies wants easier access to your private and encrypted messages. In a barely veiled warning to tech companies, it has promised to make things tough for those that don’t comply. After a meeting on Australia’s Gold Coast last week, ministers for the intelligence agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – known as the ‘Five Eyes’ – have shared their vision for worldwide snooping in a joint statement. In the official communique, the ministers outline the importance of reading private messages in the fight against terrorism and crime, citing “the urgent need for law enforcement to gain targeted access to data.” The spy chiefs paid lip service to the importance of encryption for privacy purposes, but went on in another statement to call for increased powers to access private data. Cracking your files, they argue, is no more sinister than a patrol cop searching your vehicle or house. “Privacy laws must prevent arbitrary or unlawful interference, but privacy is not absolute,” they said. Recognizing that some encrypted data can be nearly impossible to crack, the agency chiefs called on tech companies to turn over the keys voluntarily. read more on our Forum