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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is pushing for a global initiative to combat encrypted messaging apps. He argues that terrorists evade detection by discussing their plans using encrypted messages. “Many messages relating to the execution of terror attacks are sent using encryption; it is a central issue in the fight against terrorism,” he told reporters.

Cazeneuve has already discussed his proposals with his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere. They will be meeting in Paris on August 23 in order to put together an EU initiative to deal with encryption. If they have success in getting their proposal accepted in the EU, their next move is to push for a global initiative to deal with the issue. Cazeneuve declined to give any details about his proposals, so it’s not entirely clear if he wants mandatory backdoors, but that is a common proposal being considered by politicians around the world, and it is likely that Cazeneuve is considering it as well.

The French and German ministers may find quite a bit of support for a global initiative, as politicians in other countries have made proposals to combat encryption as well. In America, Senators Burr and Feinstein have drafted a bill which requires companies who implement encryption to be able to decrypt it if served with a court order. That bill has not yet been passed into law, and support for it seems to be waning. Meanwhile, the British House of Commons passed the Investigatory Powers Bill, which is still under consideration by the House of Lords. In its original form, the bill would have required all companies to be able to remove any encryption they implement, but the final version that was passed contains exceptions to that requirement.

While politicians argue that strong encryption is a tool of terrorists and poses a threat to national security, most tech companies and computer security researchers have argued in favor of strong encryption. Computer security specialist Bruce Schneier was among the many that argued the obvious point that undermining strong encryption would put everyone’s privacy at risk. However, he states that it’s not accurate to frame the issue as a trade-off between privacy and security. Strong encryption is a component of good security, he argues, and weakening encryption also weakens security.

Will a global initiative against encrypted messaging apps actually prevent terrorist attacks? Leave your comments below.

Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.

  • Robert “Robovski” Turner

    Let’s ban locks! They make things hard for us – Government Fuckwits

  • So they won’t lift a fucking finger to strengthen their borders and actually check who is entering their countries, but they’ll force Whatsapp to invade the privacy of innocent citizens for the greater good.

    What a fucking time to be alive.

  • Chris Leudard

    Fuck off france, why dont you go surrender somewhere instead

  • What a surprise. Europe is still at war with privacy.

  • Riosine

    Trying to ban mathematics and science? And then you think you are better than sharia law france.

    Simple solution Ban religions instead.

  • If only France’s leaders could have prevented this issue by choosing not to completely destroy their own country.

  • Every day it’s getting harder for me to not start wearing a tinfoil hat.

  • m-p{3}

    Not this shit again..

  • BurntToShreds

    At the end of it all people will remember the supposedly civil nations of France and Germany as the ones that rang the death-knell of the open Internet, not China or any other corrupt regime. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  • perhaps exhaust safety measures that don’t violate the rights of your countrymen you are supposed to represent before you take away encryption

  • Azure

    Until the next new revolutionary form of communication is achieved through pen and paper and new communication of speaking face to face. This will help no one and waste everyones money on another useless initiative.

  • Jim

    And don’t forget, France is putting in a law that penalizes French game developers who don’t use Feminist propaganda by taking away their tax breaks.

  • Hobo-Tobo

    You mean because in the U.S. privacy has already lost?

  • It still not as bad as what will happen in Europe or the world if this is allowed to pass.

  • GrimFate

    Fool! The tinfoil hat was placed into pop culture by the CIA to make your mind MORE readable. Think about it! Metal is very conductive!

  • GrimFate

    Oh yes, because if all encrypted commercial products have back doors, I have no choice but to submit to government surveillance. I couldn’t, say, create my own encrypted app or use some backdoor-less open-source app. Surprised the bad guys aren’t already doing this.

    And while I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of the populace were willing to give up some of their privacy for the sake of “security”, my personal stance can be easily summed up in a message any and all governments: Fuck off! I’m more afraid of you than terrorism.