George Bush becomes deputy finance chairman of Texas republican party

No, not that one. His nephew.

Can you say "dynasty"?

George P. Bush, the eldest son of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former US President George W. Bush, has been named deputy finance chairman of the Texas republican party.

Bush is currently a partner at a property-based private equity firm, Pennybacker Capital, and previously practiced corporate and securities law with a firm based in Dallas. His mother, Columba Bush, is a naturalised Mexican citizen, and he is a co-founder and director of Hispanic Republicans of Texas, a non-profit political action committee (PAC) which aims to get Latin American Republicans elected to office.

He is also co-founder of a second PAC, Maverick, which aims to get "engage next-generation GOP leaders business, politics and law". Quite why the young Republican with a background in business, politics and law holds this issue so close to his heart is unclear.

In a statement released yesterday, Texas Republican party chairman Steve Munisteri called Bush "a relatively young, dynamic, intelligent, and articulate leader." That he may be, but the real question everyone wants answered is: will he become the third President George Bush?

In 2003, when asked if he planned to enter politics, George Bush told People magazine that:

My grandmother (Barbara Bush), who I always seek advice from, told me that before you enter politics -- or even think about entering politics -- you should distinguish yourself outside of politics by doing something in the business world or any other world.

Make a name for yourself, have a family, marry someone great, have some kids, buy a house, pay taxes, and do the things everyone also does instead of just running out and saying, 'Hey, I'm the nephew of or the son of or the grandson of...'

Clearly, that time has come.

George P. Bush. Photograph: Getty Images

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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The problems with ending encryption to fight terrorism

Forcing tech firms to create a "backdoor" to access messages would be a gift to cyber-hackers.

The UK has endured its worst terrorist atrocity since 7 July 2005 and the threat level has been raised to "critical" for the first time in a decade. Though election campaigning has been suspended, the debate over potential new powers has already begun.

Today's Sun reports that the Conservatives will seek to force technology companies to hand over encrypted messages to the police and security services. The new Technical Capability Notices were proposed by Amber Rudd following the Westminster terrorist attack and a month-long consultation closed last week. A Tory minister told the Sun: "We will do this as soon as we can after the election, as long as we get back in. The level of threat clearly proves there is no more time to waste now. The social media companies have been laughing in our faces for too long."

Put that way, the plan sounds reasonable (orders would be approved by the home secretary and a senior judge). But there are irrefutable problems. Encryption means tech firms such as WhatsApp and Apple can't simply "hand over" suspect messages - they can't access them at all. The technology is designed precisely so that conversations are genuinely private (unless a suspect's device is obtained or hacked into). Were companies to create an encryption "backdoor", as the government proposes, they would also create new opportunities for criminals and cyberhackers (as in the case of the recent NHS attack).

Ian Levy, the technical director of the National Cyber Security, told the New Statesman's Will Dunn earlier this year: "Nobody in this organisation or our parent organisation will ever ask for a 'back door' in a large-scale encryption system, because it's dumb."

But there is a more profound problem: once created, a technology cannot be uninvented. Should large tech firms end encryption, terrorists will merely turn to other, lesser-known platforms. The only means of barring UK citizens from using the service would be a Chinese-style "great firewall", cutting Britain off from the rest of the internet. In 2015, before entering the cabinet, Brexit Secretary David Davis warned of ending encryption: "Such a move would have had devastating consequences for all financial transactions and online commerce, not to mention the security of all personal data. Its consequences for the City do not bear thinking about."

Labour's manifesto pledged to "provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe." But added: "We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties". The Liberal Democrats have vowed to "oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption."

But with a large Conservative majority inevitable, according to polls, ministers will be confident of winning parliamentary support for the plan. Only a rebellion led by Davis-esque liberals is likely to stop them.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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