European Union seeks to ban backdoors for encrypted communications

European Union seeks to ban backdoors for encrypted communications

A European Parliament committee has published a draft report proposing that the ability for citizens to protect their data with encryption should be protected, including banning any possibility of government sanctioned backdoors to encryption protocols that could be used by law enforcement officials.

The draft proposal from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs seeks to modernize data protection rules introduced in previous years, with privacy protection in the 2002 Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications not providing sufficient protections across the board. Under the proposal, the regulation will be amended to even out these protections across the board.

The 2002 regulations also doesn’t cover newer services and systems, including apps using end-to-end encryption and the machine-to-machine communication systems used for the “Internet of Things,” something the proposal seeks to rectify.

Stressing the confidentiality of personal electronic communications, and the long-standing fundamental right for privacy for individuals, the amendments note that the member states of the European Union are largely prevented from interfering with any encryption-related protections. Any interference “must be limited to what is strictly necessary and proportionate in a democratic society.”

The proposed amendments also specifically rule out the possibility of government-mandated insertion of backdoors or weakening of such systems entirely.

“When encryption of electronic communications data is used, decryption, reverse engineering or monitoring of such communications shall be prohibited,” reads one…

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