French Bill To Force Decryption Of Encrypted Data

In France, according to ION 2001-1062 of 15 November 2001 on everyday security, Article 30-31, failure to comply with an order to decrypt your device or give the up the encryption key will result in 3 years of jail time and a fine of €45,000, if complying would have prevented or stopped a crime, jail time will increase to 5 years and €75,000.

After the failed bill from January that would have put backdoors in encryption, legislators are back with a bill that targets companies. In the name of “reinforcing the fight against organized crime and terrorism, and their financing”, legislators are aiming to punish companies for refusing to decrypt devices in cases of terrorism. This action is more than likely inspired by wide array of technology companies backing up Apple in the Apple vs. FBI iPhone debacle.

The bill in its entirety is 73 pages long; it’s hell-bent on implementing measures to force people to cooperate with law enforcement. Under this legislation, any private technology company that does not decrypt encrypted data will be fined €350,000 ($385,000) and face five years in prison. The telecom companies aren’t exempt from this, any telecom company that does not cooperate will face two years in prison and a €15,000 fine.

In the National Assembly, M. Pierre Lellouche, a French Republican, spoke about encrypted systems in the US: “Ironically, encrypted systems generally come from the U.S. military—I think the Tor network and Dark cloud in general—and most companies that engage in this kind of trade are American,” he told the National Assembly. “They deliberately use the argument of public freedoms to make money knowing full well that the encryption used to drug traffickers, to serious [criminals] and especially to terrorists. It is unacceptable that the state loses any control over encryption and, in fact, be the subject of manipulation by U.S. multinationals.”

Lellouche made a statement towards those who opposed this bill saying, “In terms of prevention, by one vote, you do not want to send the signal of resistance to US multinationals to end encryption of communications between terrorists. You do not want to send that signal.”

Not too long after the terrorist attacks in Paris, we have France pushing these bills that trample upon their citizens’ rights; similar to what happened after 9/11, and we all know how that turned out.

In other news, France also wants to allow customs officers to assume undercover pseudonyms to presumably infiltrate darknet sites the way the FBI did in the Silk Road case.

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