The EU Wants to Enforce Encryption, and Ban Backdoor Access

By Tom Pritchard on at

In news that is likely to make most of us cheer, and Amber Rudd say something very stupid, The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs has published some draft proposals that aim to enforce end-to-end encryption of communications data, and ban backdoor access would let law enforcement (and nefarious hackers) to snoop around your conversations.

The proposals would form an amendment to Article 7 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, which guarantees EU citizens the right to personal privacy.

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The changes would see the "confidentiality and safety" of electronic communications guaranteed in the same manner, including both the content itself and the associated metadata. The point being that all this information can easily reveal sensitive personal information that could be damaging in the wrong hands, and while not absolute metadata could be easily be used to form conclusions about the individual in question.

Hearing this from one of the world's major governmental bodies is a bit surprising, especially given how both the US and UK governments have been pressuring tech companies to install backdoors into their software - despite the fact these things can and do get exploited by the bad guys. People in our government have even threatened to ban encryption which, as we've discussed before, is a monumentally stupid idea.

This legislation obviously needs to be approved by MEPs in the European Parliament before they can be implemented, though due to the whole Brexit thing (and what the government has said in the past) it seems unlikely that this amendment would have any effect on everyone here in the UK.

That said a lot of big tech companies have been stubbornly refusing to allow backdoor access to their communications services (as far as we know, anyway), and should this proposal be approved it could provide an extra tool to help them fight back. You can read the whole proposal over at the source link. [Europarl via MacRumours]