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Who wasn't moved by the story of Alan Turing, the brilliant English mathematician whose dedicated team cracked the Nazi Enigma code and saved countless lives during World War 2?

Fast forward more than 70 years and the ability of terrorist groups such as Islamic State and al-Qa’ida to harness ­encryption methods on the internet has created its own Turing doomsday imperative. Either we crack the codes or our law enforcement agencies will remain in the dark about terrorist plans for more carnage.

Next week, political and ­national security chiefs from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Britain and Canada will meet privately in the Canadian capital, Ottawa. High on the agenda will be ways to combat terrorism, and one of the key points will be cracking encryption in messaging apps.

The task at this conference, known as Five Eyes, is incredibly difficult — nearly impossible.

Some of the most common messaging apps are Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, Whats­App, Signal, Telegram and Wire. Every day, millions of people send billions of messages to each other, secure in the knowledge that new-age encryption technology means their conversations will remain private.

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