Franco-German Initiative Seeks Encryption Policies

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In the wake of recent worldwide terrorist activity and amid the craziness of the Brexit fallout, lawmakers and government figures in the European Union are scrambling to find solutions that can help to beef up security for everybody without unnecessarily sacrificing personal freedom and privacy. The Minsters of The Interior for France and Germany got together and drew up a policy proposal that would see a crackdown on encryption in personal communications, among other things. If enacted, the policies would compel all EU member states to take a deeper look at encryption, and the possibility of enacting laws that would impose additional responsibilities on service providers and users to make life a bit easier for law enforcement.

While no exact details on how it would be accomplished were given, the proposal at hand, in regards to encryption, would begin to impose upon service providers whose content is encrypted, such as app makers, internet providers, and wireless carriers, to have some way for the content to be decrypted for investigation and presentation in court, if necessary. While this does not state how accountability would be established or how the proposal's goals would be accomplished, presumably leaving those details up to the individual EU member states, the overtones of the United States' age-old "backdoor" argument are quite clear. Providers would be forced to have some way on hand to decrypt content for investigation, and to remove illegal content.

The proposal doesn't just include stipulations about encrypted communications and content, of course. It also proposes that member states communicate better through technology to aid in the flow of critical information. Specifically, a specialized network is proposed, especially for this purpose. An initiative called the "Electronic System for Travel Authorization" is proposed for foreigners entering the EU with a visa, but no details are given on that for the moment. Also touched on is heightened security at the external borders of the EU around the outer member states. The way that this is to be accomplished is through an extensive mass training exercise in the form of a crisis simulation, as well as giving authorities across the EU access to critical national security files for each member state. Obviously, these proposals are quite sweeping, and will require careful policymaking and a lot of trust between member states. Thus, the proposal is set to go to Heads of State and Government, to take place in Bratislava on the 16 of September.

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