Government officials and encryption often do not mix all that well. This is especially true when looking at the US government as an example. It now appears the EU parliament is trying to change things, by proposing to ban all encryption backdoors altogether. This is a major development in the fight for consumer privacy, although it remains to be seen how things will play out in the end.
EU Is Not a Fan of Encryption Backdoors
A lot of people will be surprised to learn the European Union is not in favor of creating encryption backdoors. In fact, they have no intention of making it easier to read consumer data. Obtaining the information is subject to whole different guidelines, though, which is often criticized by consumer privacy advocates. A new proposal has surfaced last week, which is an amended regulation that could shake up things quite a bit.
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More specifically, this new proposal would demand service providers to make end-to-end encryption available at any given time. Moreover, it forbids the use of backdoors to gain guaranteed access to information. Rest assured this new proposal will not be to the liking of most law enforcement agencies in the EU, and some backlash regarding this proposal is to be expected.
The EU wants to ensure its residents are aware the region can still guarantee confidentiality and safety of data at all times. Encryption backdoors are only intended to weaken consumer privacy, which is not acceptable under any circumstances. Government officials often claim backdoors are needed in the fight against terrorism, even though consumers will have their data violated at any given time. Weakening encryption is never the answer to solving problems.
Do keep in mind this is still only a proposal, which needs to be approved by the European Parliament. Afterward, it will be thoroughly reviewed by the EU Council. Amendments to this proposal are to be expected, even though no one knows exactly if they will be needed. Law enforcement agencies and politics will have a thing or two to say regarding this proposal and how it takes away their “power do to the right thing.”
Moreover, if this proposal is approved without further changes, it may end up creating a right between the EU and other countries. Especially the United Kingdom is not a big fan of encryption and feels backdoors are the only viable path forward. Then again, it is due time politicians realize backdoors will not help them in a positive manner, as it only creates more problems along the way. The last thing consumers need is agencies going through all of their data without permission.
It will be interesting to see how the European Parliament will respond to this proposal. After all, this rule change would affect dozens of countries at the same time. It could become a big win for privacy advocates within and outside of the European Union, though. Then again, proposals like these are hardly ever approved without any major changes being made to them. It will be an interesting topic to keep an eye on moving forward, that much is evident.
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