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EU Encryption Privacy

European Parliament Committee Endorses End-To-End Encryption (tomshardware.com) 120

The civil liberties committee of the European Parliament has released a draft proposal "in direct contrast to the increasingly loud voices around the world to introduce regulations or weaken encryption," according to an anonymous Slashdot reader. Tom's Hardware reports: The draft recommends a regulation that will enforce end-to-end encryption on all communications to protect European Union citizens' fundamental privacy rights. The committee also recommended a ban on backdoors. Article 7 of the E.U.'s Charter of Fundamental Rights says that E.U. citizens have a right to personal privacy, as well as privacy in their family life and at home. According to the EP committee, the privacy of communications between individuals is also an important dimension of this right...

We've lately seen some EU member states push for increased surveillance and even backdoors in encrypted communications, so there seems to be some conflict here between what the European Parliament institutional bodies may want and what some member states do. However, if this proposal for the new Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications passes, it should significantly increase the privacy of E.U. citizens' communications, and it won't be so easy to roll back the changes to add backdoors in the future.

Security researcher Lukasz Olejnik says "the fact that policy is seriously considering these kind of aspects is unprecedented."
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European Parliament Committee Endorses End-To-End Encryption

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  • What? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 )

    But... but ... but ... Terrist?

    Mrs. May? Could we have your statement on this matter?

    What, every court has its jester, and just 'cause she doesn't want to be part of the court anymore doesn't mean we can't laugh about her!

    • Don't worry, the terrists will still frequent our landmarks and monuments and scenic places.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fazig ( 2909523 )
        Hey, it's only meant to protect E.U. citizens. They didn't say anything about the smelly sand people that aren't true Europeans to begin with.

        (beware of sarcasm)
        • From Arizona???

    • Re:What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by polar red ( 215081 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:04AM (#54642053)

      The fact that the UK is out of the EU now, is probably the reason this could happen.

      • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:10AM (#54642075)

        The UK isn't out of the EU yet. It will most likely remain a member for about two more years.

        • They're too busy getting out to stop it.

        • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jack Malmostoso ( 899729 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @09:05AM (#54642239)

          True, but right now even if the UK were to complain about this resolution they would be ignored.

          They are not out yet, but they have lost their voice already.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The UK isn't out of the EU yet. It will most likely remain a member for about two more years.

          They will certainly remain a member for almost two more years.

          Former EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht doubts that the UK will be able to get their Brexit together, and estimates there is "a serious chance" Britain will eventually remain in the European Union [deredactie.be].

          • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2017 @12:16PM (#54642715)

            The effects are starting to be felt, and parts of the government are already hinting about the damage of leaving the EU. Hell, they've even admitted that an extremely good deal is needed otherwise the NHS is screwed. The EU provides support to some of the poorest areas of the UK, ironically the same ones that had the heaviest Leave votes. We're already seeing a backlash now people realise they're going to be out of pocket if we leave - the anti-EU Democratic Unionist Party is already scrounging for cash to replace lost EU funding a part of its deal to keep the Conservatives in power.

            I give things until the end of the year, before Brexit collapses and we can hopefully go back to tackling the real issues that affect the UK. I was out canvassing during the election, and it was incredible how many people voted to leave and now regret it. The surge in support for Labour came from those people.

            Lets face it, if we do leave then the UK population is going to quickly discover that the government and media are the cause of most of our social and economic problems, not the EU.

            • People have been claiming a backlash is build now that others have seen the light since about 24 June 2016. It's like the year of Linux on the desktop or the release of Half-Life 3.

              In reality, there is very little evidence of "bregret" on the Leave side, and increasing evidence that about half of the people who voted Remain are now "re-leavers" who think the government should respect the result of the referendum and leave even though it isn't what they personally wanted.

              Given that the Labour policy at the e

              • My guess is the surge of Labour voters came more from the realization that May tries to be like Thatcher, and a lot of Brits do actually remember those times.

            • by hoofie ( 201045 )
              Why do pro-European advocates always talk about the amount of money Regions in the UK receive from the European bodies ? Heads-up : It's the UK's money so start with. We are a net contributor to the EU so we pay in more than comes out. Switch out the funding source from Europe to the UK. As for some of the poorest areas voting leave it's those poorest areas who getting hammered hardest by free movement and businesses relocating to cheap plants in Eastern Europe. As for people voting leaving and regretti
              • Why do pro-European advocates always talk about the amount of money Regions in the UK receive from the European bodies ? Heads-up : It's the UK's money so start with. We are a net contributor to the EU so we pay in more than comes out.

                So you'd rather trust the London government to invest that money in the poorer regions? The reason that people bring it up is that, between Brussels and London, Brussels has a far better track record of investing in the poorer areas of the UK.

                • So you'd rather trust the London government to invest that money in the poorer regions?

                  Which is exactly why the "United Kingdom" is no longer a useful phrase. The odds of Scotland seceding within a few years is better than evens, and the Welsh and Geordies are starting to get restive.

                  At this time, it's three kingdoms and a Plantation held together by centralised control and taxation. I don't see that lasting.

            • by hoofie ( 201045 )

              The UK population is going to quickly discover that the government and media are the cause of most of our social and economic problems, not the EU.

              The areas of the country that were solid Labour areas for decades swung to the pro-Brexit camp for the exact reason that the European model has seen their jobs evaporate to Eastern Europe and the population rocketing due to immigration from Eastern Europe. That response may have a racial tinge; it may be wrong but it's there and putting your head in the sand and going "La La La" wont' change it.

              The Pro-European campaign before the Referendum treated the population like mugs and the establishment and the

            • Lets face it, if we do leave then the UK population is going to quickly discover that the government and media are the cause of most of our social and economic problems, not the EU.

              The London government has pretty much always been an enemy of the people at large in the modern era.

            • There's also suddenly a lot less public appetite for throwing away a load of regulations after a tower block burned down killing a load of people because the UK allows the use of an insulating material that Germany and the US have banned as having a too-high fire risk.

              Amusing fact if you were canvasing for Labour: of all of the key policies in their manifesto, leaving the EU had the lowest approval rating (though apparently there's a mandate for that, but not for properly funding the NHS or nationalising

            • I give things until the end of the year, before Brexit collapses and we can hopefully go back to tackling the real issues that affect the UK.

              I really hope you are right. I think a lot of people are deeply frustrated with being governed by a group of people, whose only qualification is that they feel entitled to tell others what to do. And it isn't just in government we see this - I think anyone who has had a highly skilled job, like an engineer, software developer, medical doctor etc, recognises this: you are ruled by incompetent managers, who happened to have the right connections and feel they have the right to rule; they boast of their great

          • They will certainly remain a member for almost two more years.

            There's nothing certain about it, in either direction. Neither an abrupt early exit under the current UK administration nor an effective extension through some sort of transition arrangement if negotiations are going well for all concerned but not yet concluded by the original deadline is out of the question at this point.

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          The UK isn't out of the EU yet. It will most likely remain a member for about two more years.

          And likely never will be. In the recent election, the only parties still campaigning for a hard Brexit got 0 seats. T-May and the Conservatives shrewdly changed tack from hard to soft Brexit half way thought the campaign, this cost them a few votes from the extreme right, but it gave them a lot more votes from the moderate right. In retrospect, the backflip paid off for them and is probably the only reason they still have enough numbers to form a government.

          Europe will never offer us a good deal on Brexi

          • We've seen this combination of negativity about any future deal and wishful thinking about reversing the leave decision since the day after the referendum. Please change the record, because regardless of where you stand on Remain vs. Leave, endlessly repeating this same position simply isn't constructive at this point. Your sig is ironic: it seems you are just hating without actually making much of an argument for anyone to rebut.

            • Oh, we're still working to undermine the Brexit vote - after all, in THIS country of the DisUnited Kingdom, we voted to Bremain. But why waste time doing it on a site dominated by Septics?
              • I have no problem with discussing the ideas or advocating your preferred outcome. In fact, I encourage everyone to do so, because constructive discussions about the pros and cons of different ways forward is exactly what we need right now. (I believe this is true regardless of which way someone voted in the referendum or why they chose to vote that way.)

                But I don't see the point in just endlessly claiming the world will end after Brexit. Obviously the nature of any future relationship is important, but what

                • I'm still planning to leave the UK to remain in Europe. The UK then becomes someone else's problem.
          • the backflip paid off for them and is probably the only reason they still have enough numbers to form a government.

            Remember - their ability to form a government is at the behest of Sinn Fein. If they choose to back-track on their tradition of not taking their seats in parliament, then May is back to the most slender of majorities - 2 votes if you count the Speaker, and drag people into the Commons in their hospital beds (it has been done before).

            Now, I understand why Sinn Fein have that policy - it dates b

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by w-wright ( 3525625 )

      Mrs. May? Could we have your statement on this matter?

      Mrs May's statement: "Strong and stable leadership..."

      • Yes, Mrs. May, that's something Britain lacks, but that was not the topic now.

      • by bmo ( 77928 )

        Mrs. May's statement: "Good encryption costs too much."

        Like good building practices.

        And the Tories wonder why Labour kicked their asses.

        --
        BMO

        • They didn't. The Tories still have the most votes, the most seats and aren't a million miles short of an overall majority.

          I bet the first thing Maggie II thought when she heard was that it was lucky it didn't happen a couple of weeks earlier.

        • by hoofie ( 201045 )
          Labour didn't "kick their asses". Labour didn't win enough seats for a First Past the Post system. Even if you add in the SNP fruitcakes, the Libs, the Greens and those ardent warriors for peace Sinn Fein it's not enough.

          The Tories need the Unionists for a coalition.

          If Corbyn had the numbers with Sinn Fein included he would be talking to them trying to get them to take their seats although I would suggest that large combination would be as stable as a one-legged stool.

          Mind you according to Momentum C
  • Children (Score:5, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @07:28AM (#54641951) Homepage Journal
    Obviously they didn't think of the children though. My next proposal with be called "Think of the Children" and will require full Internet histories of everyone to be collected and stored in perpetuity.
  • The people (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @07:52AM (#54642015) Homepage

    Isn't it amazing how the EU time and time again installs regulation that benefits the people who live there, even if that means going against companies best interests? And still many inhabitants of the EU think they don't benefit from it (although those numbers are going down thanks to Brexit).

    • Re:The people (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:09AM (#54642073)

      The EU is not one voice or a single point of power in government. EU mechanisms have been used to push through oppressive surveillance and recording laws as well. It's a complicated issue and there are people on both sides of the debate, in the EU administration just as anywhere else in politics.

      • Re:The people (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:58AM (#54642211) Journal

        The civil liberties committee of the European Parliament

        should be making recommendations for legislation like this.

        Getting the entire wishlist passed into law may be unlikely, but at least they're having the conversation. Naturally, there will be some dissent from other factions of government, powerful business interests, and the "if-you-have-nothing-to-hide" parrots. Still, this is a representative committee doing the people's business as it was intended to function.

        It's refreshing. Far too many government oversight departments have been hamstrung (and empowered) by the whim of the party in power.

      • Re:The people (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@ w o r l d 3 . net> on Sunday June 18, 2017 @09:43AM (#54642327) Homepage Journal

        The fact that the EU even has a department looking at civil liberties, which is taken seriously and results in strong privacy and freedom protections, is quite remarkable these days.

        • The fact that the EU even has a department looking at civil liberties, which is taken seriously and results in strong privacy and freedom protections, is quite remarkable these days.

          However, in this particular case the NSA, with no interest in civil liberties whatsoever, agrees with them. According to the NSA, whose business is US national security (and not EU national security, or US civil liberties) strong encryption is overall beneficial to US national security. So if we believe them, then there isn't even a conflict between national security and civil liberty.

          (Of course the NSA would like to be able to, and works hard to break your encryption. That's their job. But it seems they

          • (Of course the NSA would like to be able to, and works hard to break your encryption. That's their job. But it seems they think they are better at it than the bad guys, and weak encryption would make it dangerously simple for the bad guys to break our encryption).

            Which is why I find it odd that instead of trying to introduce backdoors, governments don't just try to keep encryption to a level where only nation states have the resources to crack it. I don't have to worry about ordinary criminals cracking my

            • Which is why I find it odd that instead of trying to introduce backdoors, governments don't just try to keep encryption to a level where only nation states have the resources to crack it

              Because that's impossible, for very many reasons.

              First, the nation state doesn't need to break just one use of encryption, it needs to break several. If you need to be able to break 1,000 people's encrypted communications, then the criminal needs 1,000th of the computational power that the state can throw at it. If the state needs to be able to break them in a day, then a criminal happy to wait a month needs 1/30,000th the computational power, which is about the difference between a data centre and a mob

          • The NSA isn't against strong encryption because they believe they can bribe [slashdot.org] the people who write the strong encryption implementations to make it secretly weak.

    • Re:The people (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:13AM (#54642093)

      This has nothing to do with "companies best interest", or maybe you should argue it is in the best interest of the companies.

      Strong encryption is in everyones interest, except for politicians with a appetite for totalitarianism. Backdoors etc would be a complete disaster, as amply demonstrated by Intel quite recently.

    • Do you have reason to believe the individual state governments would have voted otherwise ?

    • Re:The people (Score:4, Insightful)

      by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @08:15AM (#54642101)

      This is only a draft proposal. By the time it gets through the commission it may (and likely, will) read like the exact opposite.

      Oh, and "Time and time again" -> give one more example please?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think it has a chance of passing. Some major member states are actively requesting backdoors and encryption bans, they will never pass this.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seems that while the UK is pushing to become little America and America is spying on everyone + their dog the EU is pressing ahead with bettering the lives of its citizens.

    All the weak encryption and spying in the world di not prevent trucks and cars being driven over people or the Boston Marathn bombing. Heck even when they have the intelligence they are hard pressed to do something meaningful about it. - bulk surveillance is not a terrorism preventative measure.

    As an aside, a moron called Nigel Fa

  • One very important point: The European Union is not responsible for the security or defence of the people in the European Union. That's a responsibility for the individual countries.

    The hardest part of these regulations is balancing out security and privacy, and for the EU it's simple -- they're not responsible for security. So this is largely meaningless.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      You make an interesting point, but the fact that security isn't the primary responsibility of the EU doesn't mean the EU can ignore it in setting rules.

      The European Convention on Human Rights is part of EU law, so EU explicitly must protect individual rights. But it goes without saying that it also has to take into account the governments' ability to provide security and law enforcement. This is why law requires specially trained experts, who even so still get things wrong a lot of the time.

      Effective go

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The convention on human rights is a European Council convention. The European Council is a body separate from the European Union. The European Council has more than 40 members, many of which are not EU members.

        I do agree that the EU is responsible for many regulations that push for increased protection of citizens' privacy though.

    • Isn't the EU there to unify the rules (of which privacy is a part, not that this would pass), to facilitate trade amongst its members? It's more of an interstate commerce commission that suffers from mission creep. Goes with the territory.

  • I'd be concerned (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @09:20AM (#54642271)

    This may sound good on the surface on it, but it may have unintended consequences.

    For example, can you still offer unencrypted web sites at all under this regulation? If you can't, doesn't that mean that every web site may have to register with a certificate authority?

    Conversely, in order to comply simultaneously with this regulation and hate speech and libel laws, wouldn't web sites have to require more identification and authentication?

    And what's the need for such a regulation anyway? All governments need to do is not to refrain from making cryptography illegal. Mandating cryptography seems as much of an unwise overreach as prohibiting it.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "Conversely, in order to comply simultaneously with this regulation and hate speech and libel laws, wouldn't web sites have to require more identification and authentication?"
      Long term the idea is for photo id to access the useful parts of the internet, like when buying any modem, cell phone, ISP account.
      That account will then be linked to a person who has registered with photo ID and is then responsible for all search terms, sites visited, comments made by their IP/account.
      Encryption will work but be
  • Isn't that akin to making burglary illegal?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Think of having to share a private NVR/DVR CCTV with the gov. The gov will access and watch the cameras on private property too.
      With encryption the two people using the product will be protected, just the gov will get the text/voice/files/details too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 18, 2017 @09:42AM (#54642325)

    The providers of electronic communications services shall ensure that there is sufficient protection in place against unauthorised access or alterations to the electronic communications data, and that the confidentiality and safety of the transmission are also guaranteed by the nature of the means of transmission used or by state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption of the electronic communications data. Furthermore, when encryption of electronic communications data is used, decryption, reverse engineering or monitoring of such communications shall be prohibited. Member States shall not impose any obligations on electronic communications service providers that would result in the weakening of the security and encryption of their networks and services.

    I don't understand why the summary is saying that the parliament demands end-to-end encryption be "enforced" while the title says "endorsed". This draft bill basically says that when you are not already providing communication over a secure channel, you should protect the users by encryption at their ends, using a sufficiently up-to-date method. Of course this is very vague on the technical requirements (hence enforceability), and I expect a lot resistance from the businesses if this part is going into the final act as it is now.

    The real gem, though, is the provision against Member States deliberately weakening security. This is not legislative meddling in tech (which is problematic even if good-intentioned), but a direct legislative safeguard against the crazy state of political atmosphere that is on the verge of cyberauthoritarian dystopia, as it stands now.

    Hear hear, honourable members!

    • I don't understand why the summary is saying that the parliament demands end-to-end encryption be "enforced" while the title says "endorsed".

      Basic knowledge of EU structure is needed here. So fair that there is confusion... but the article is correct.

      It is because of who is making the draft. The Euro Parliament cannot create a bill, only modify and accept or reject. Therefore passing a bill is "endorsing" it. The bill itself will "enforce" the encryption.

  • Misleading Article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @10:25AM (#54642441)

    For US Citizens, the gravity of this situation would be translated thusly:

    The House subcommittee on Civil Liberties has accepted a proposal written by the ACLU and EFF advocating End-to-End Encryption.

    That's it.

    It hasn't been submitted to the house as a bill, it isn't making the rounds to garner legislative support, it simply exists as a proposal, and in doing so has made the news.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday June 18, 2017 @12:28PM (#54642769)

    And from those lying though their teeth. Otherwise there would be no need for "loud voices", as convincing arguments would be available. For a ban on secure encryption, no convincing arguments exist, and such a ban would be excessively destructive to a modern economy.

    My guess is this committee asked some actual experts, unlike fundamentally stupid and power-hungry people like May, Trump, etc. like to do.

  • We didn't just backdoor all your crypto willy-nilly! NO way citizen, we had a discussion about it, don't you remember? It was you, the citizens, that had decided that this was a good idea, and we've just been enforcing the will of the people. Now, remove that unauthorized encryption, and provide all your private keys immediately. Like in the deal.

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