- The European Union resolutions endorse strong encryption as a means to protect people’s fundamental rights.
- The EU Commission’s ambition to increase the protection of children’s privacy could pose a risk to end-to-end encryption.
The Council Resolution on Encryption
The draft was introduced on November 24, 2020 and adopted on December 14, 2020. In this resolution, “the Council underlines its support for the development, implementation and use of strong encryption as a necessary means of protecting fundamental rights and the digital security of citizens, governments, industry and society.”
Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert from ProPrivacy, wrote in response to the Draft Council Resolution: “Providing backdoors into people’s messages creates ongoing access for government agencies to everyone’s private messages, without reducing the ability for criminals to send encrypted messages via other covert means on the dark web.”
The EU Commission’s proposal
Governments across Europe are seeking to build a robust policy response to the scourge of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online. And EU policymakers have honed in on the usual targets of such legislation: private messaging platforms like Signal, WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Facebook.
It will require messaging platforms to access private data and messages to detect instances of child sexual abuse. The theory is that we will continue to enjoy the privacy and security afforded by encryption while also preventing criminals and abusers from exploiting online platforms, thanks to technical shortcuts.
But this is wishful thinking. The only way for service providers to comply with the EU regulation would be to weaken end-to-end encryption for everyone. You can find the full proposal here