The debate opposing “strong encryption” and advocating “lawful access to data” and “crime detection“ is going strong in Europe and around the world.
There is growing pressure on technology providers to create “backdoors” in their systems to facilitate access the data for law enforcement and national security purposes. Some governments believe that such backdoors can be targeted to provide access to public authorities only, so they can access the digital evidence they seek to prosecute criminals using encrypted communications.
Providers are also refraining from securely end-to-end encrypting private communications or facing pressure to implement “client-side scanning” backdoors to indiscriminately search private correspondence for child sexual exploitation material. The EU Commission is considering legislation that would oblige providers to screen even end-to-end encrypted private communications.
On the other hand, many stakeholders believe that end-to-end encryption protects people’s right to privacy, guarantees safe spaces for victims and provides the secure data, communications and infrastructure we all need. Recent cybersecurity attacks also show strong encryption is needed now more than ever, and that creating backdoors can have disastrous consequences.
If weakening encryption through legislation or judicial orders is not the right solution, are there other ways to reconcile privacy, security and public safety? How can policymakers ensure a coherent approach on apparently divergent policy objectives? What can the EU do to promote encryption? Can government agencies develop new investigative techniques without undermining encryption?
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