Eris Industries, a firm that uses blockchain technology to help clients build their own data infrastructure, is leaving the UK in protest over government plans to introduce a communications data bill dubbed the "snooper's charter".
The proposed bill is expected to include a mandatory requirement to include cryptographic back-doors which can be accessed by government agencies, including MI5.
Having threatened to leave the UK when the plan was first aired earlier this year, Eris now says that it has ordered staff to leave the country and has moved its headquarters to New York, "where open-source cryptography is firmly established as protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment". The move will be permanent unless the "relevant" provisions" in the bill are removed.
Preston Byrne, COO and general counsel, Eris Industries, says: "Eris Industries’ business is industrial cryptography. This legislation, if passed, is likely to prevent our technology’s use in myriad industrial applications, including financial services, which need reliable, open-source cryptography desperately if they are to stay competitive in a digital age."
Byrne says that the surveillance powers being asked for in the bill are "completely unnecessary", adding that if passed "we are likely to see a mass exodus of tech companies and financial services firms alike from the United Kingdom. We are happy to lead by example."