- France and Germany have jointly proposed a new law that would compel technology companies to decrypt data for law enforcement investigators, Politico reports.
- As in the U.S., law enforcement has pressured for this type of legislation, but the tech community and privacy advocates generally oppose it.
- The European Commission said it will review the proposal in at its next meeting in September.
Several European groups immediately denounced the proposal, arguing there is no secure way to provide “backdoor” access to encrypted data.
“The proposal to undermine encryption at the EU level is rooted in the false belief that encrypted communications can somehow be made accessible to law enforcement without being made vulnerable to bad actors,” said Lucie Krahulcova, a policy associate at digital-rights group Access Now.
But European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said the commission is looking forward to reviewing the proposal.
“The use of encryption should not prevent competent authorities from safeguarding important public interests in accordance with the procedures, conditions and safeguards set forth by law,” said Bertaud.
The U.S. has already been down this path. An encryption disclosure bill proposed by Sens. Richard Burr, R-NC, and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, earlier this year failed to garner support and was never introduced. The proposal followed a legal battle between Apple and the FBI over access to an iPhone used by a mass shooter in San Bernardino, CA. A coalition of tech companies fought the proposal, claiming it "would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm."