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Brexit deal recommends use of long-dead software

Brexit
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/JMiks)

Imagine copy-and-pasting chunks of legislation into the Brexit (opens in new tab) trade agreement. Believe it or not, that seems to be exactly what happened.

As reported by the BBC (opens in new tab), it has been discovered that the Brexit deal refers to Netscape Communicator 4.0, an internet client essentially dead for more than 20 years now, as a “modern e-mail package”. It also recommends the usage of 1024-bit RSA encryption and the SHA-1 hashing algorithm, both of which are now obsolete.

Some publications have suggested the material was copied over from an EU law from 2008, which uses the same phrasing.

The Home Office said the paragraphs "set out the legally prescribed measures for cooperation."

"We currently use the latest technology to share this data, which is properly protected and in line with the guidance from the National Cyber Security Centre," a spokesman added.

After years of back and forth, Brexit negotiations finally came to a close in late December 2020. The trade deal document spans more than 1,200 pages.

With the 27 members of the EU all approving the post-Brexit deal, and the UK Parliament subsequently doing the same, the terms of the new relationship took effect on January 1.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.