Amber Rudd is the UK’s Home Secretary and as such she is responsible for law enforcement, prevention of terrorism etc. As the world knows the UK has suffered from a wave of terrorism from a mysterious source that is definitely not even slightly related to a religion founded in Arabia about 1400 years ago and Ms Rudd wants to keep Her Majesty’s subjects safe from future occurrences. Her theory appears to be that if the UK population is wrapped up in enough cotton wool they’ll be kept safe. To that end she’s a bansturbator of all sorts of things, from guns and knives to websites, apps and the presumption of innocence.

The attempts to ban the physical things have not, for some reason, stopped terrorism so she, and to be honest a number of her predecessors including a certain T May, have also sought to ban information. They do this by insisting that UK ISPs install content filtering devices and by insisting that the Silicon Valley social networking sites take down nasty stuff as soon as they can and she’s threatened laws if they fail to do what she wants voluntarily;

The major technology companies must step up their fight against extremism or face new laws, the home secretary has told the BBC.

Amber Rudd said technology companies were not doing enough to beat “the enemy” on the internet.

Ms Rudd is expected to tell companies that extremists should not be allowed to upload content at all.

“That’s what we’re really trying to achieve,” she told the BBC.

“What [technology companies] have been saying to us is using artificial intelligence, they’re beginning to make progress in that way.”

That’s not good for someone who is in charge of the law for a country that came up with concepts like “free speech” and the “presumption of innocence”. But it gets worse. She’s got an earful from the spooks at GCHQ who are upset that end to end encryption means they can’t decrypt the messages the bad guys send to each other and thus she wants the purveyors of apps like “Whatsapp” to put backdoors in their encryption protocols so that the good people at GCHQ can read the messages of people they have under surveillance.

The problem here is that she’s not very clear on how the technology works and she recently threw a hissy fit when she was called on this:

Asked by an audience member if she understood how end-to-end encryption actually worked, she said: “It’s so easy to be patronised in this business. We will do our best to understand it.

“We will take advice from other people but I do feel that there is a sea of criticism for any of us who try and legislate in new areas, who will automatically be sneered at and laughed at for not getting it right.”

She added: “I don’t need to understand how encryption works to understand how it’s helping – end-to-end encryption – the criminals.

“I will engage with the security services to find the best way to combat that.”

This follows on from an interview 6 months ago where, in addition to going on about her bansturbatory fantasies, she demonstrated she had no clue what words refer to what technology;

Speaking about preventing the upload of objectionable content, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the government needs to get people who “understand the necessary hashtags” talking.

That was of course in addition to Rudd’s widely criticised remarks that encryption has no place in citizens’ hands, in the wake of revelations that Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was using WhatsApp shortly before murdering pedestrians with his car.

It didn’t take a security expert to realise the Home Sec was quite clearly out of her depth, something that would be less worrying if she didn’t occupy one of the highest offices in the land.

Anyway, in a Parliamentary response today, the Home Office clarified that Rudd didn’t mean hashtags at all.

Sarah Newton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, said Rudd “was referring to image hashing, the process of detecting the recurrence an image or video online” in response to a question from shadow digital minister Louise Haigh.

Ms Rudd, despite not understanding what words mean, is apparently very clear that people, and British people in particular, don’t really want end to end encryption. Apparently people use Whatsapp because it has a simple UI and not because people don’t want friends, neighbors and random strangers in the security services reading what they have to say. She completely fails to grasp the idea that if the “good people” at GCHQ / NSA can read someone’s communications then so can similar people in repressive regimes such as the PRC (who we note are attempting to ban VPNs and other stuff that they can’t decrypt) as can random criminal hackers and others who figure out the backdoor that she wants the encryption scheme to use.

Moreover she clearly fails to grasp that you can’t put the technology genie back in the bottle – something that a certain Ned Ludd and his followers proved a couple of centuries ago. If someone wants to write a messaging app with end to end encryption they can do it in javascript in about 5 minutes and have it run on any modern device from a Raspberry Pi on up. Weakening, blocking or banning Whatsapp (and thereby annoying lots of people including a number of her fellow conservative MPs) doesn’t stop the terrorists or criminals from communicating secretly, all it does is inconvenience the general public and potentially provide some pointless security theatre that makes it look like she is “doing something”.

With her combination of Nanny state protectionism and Luddism, I hereby declare her real name to be Nanny Ludd. I hope it spreads widely.