Act now to prevent national governments from dismantling encryption!

Act now to prevent national governments from dismantling encryption!

Two months ago, I questioned Commissioner Johansson in the plenary about Commission’s plan with the regulation derogating from ePrivacy; however, I didn’t get a satisfying answer to my concerns. Now, citizens’ privacy faces another attack. This time from the Member States. Following the Commission’s plan to create exception from the ePrivacy rules and consequently weaken encryption for the purpose of investigating child sexual abuse material on-line, the general subject of encryption is in front of Member States in the Council.

What’s happening

Member States are currently drafting a resolution on Security through encryption and security despite encryption, which raises the issue that law enforcement have with accessing private communications because of encrypted technologies. The text aims at calling on the Commission to “review the effects arising from different regulatory frameworks in order to develop further a consistent regulatory framework across the EU that would allow competent authorities to carry out their operational tasks effectively. Potential technical solutions will have to enable authorities to use their investigative powers […].” In short, they are calling for legislation allowing generalized access (a.k.a. backdoors) to communications for law enforcement and technical cooperation from industry.

What happens next

What is the procedure of approving this resolution in the Council? Member States are now invited to send substantive comments to the Council Presidency by tomorrow (i.e. November 12, 2020) noon. The Presidency intends to present this revised text for endorsement to the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security (COSI) on November 19, 2020, in view of further submission to COREPER II (I-item; country’s ambassadors to the European Union) on November 25, 2020, followed by adoption by the Council via a written procedure.

How to get involved

You can send a letter to your country’s ambassador, who attends the COREPER II meeting, to the European Union, asking for rejection of the resolution. The European Pirates drafted a letter in several European languages, which you can use. You can find links to embassies to the European Union of Member States and letters in the respective languages bellow. If there’s no letter in the respective language, feel free to send a letter in your own words or use the letter in English: