France & Germany Want Access To Encrypted User Data

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Interior ministers of France and Germany held a joint press conference last week in Paris to call upon the European Commission to put into place a new law that would grant government agencies in the EU access to encrypted data to aid in investigations.

The idea should sound familiar as authorities in the United States have been fighting and losing the battle to gain access to that same data on our phones and computers.

Even if passed, getting the companies that house that data to comply is not easy. Apple, who held firm to their stance on not allowing a backdoor on the iPhone for the FBI in the San Bernardino case earlier this year, showed that handing over customer data is not as simple as lawmakers would like it to be.

Germany is a country known for the importance of digital privacy, but after a string of terrorist attacks, it appears that the government is open to overlooking the value of keeping data private.

After announcing the proposal, privacy activists spoke out against the plan, citing concerns over the creation of backdoor access that could easily be abused by hackers.

Lucie Krahulcova, a policy associate at digital-rights group Access Now, spoke out saying: “The proposal to undermine encryption at the EU level is rooted in the false belief that encrypted communications can somehow be made accessible to law enforcement without being made vulnerable to bad actors.”

The European Commission will consider the proposal during a meeting in September.

Sources: Ministère de l’intérieur, Politico

Photo: Pierre [Flickr]

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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