For the European Union, there must be a balance between privacy and security. The body’s position coincides with that of other governments in the world.
The European Union (EU) has its sights set on services with encryption, considering that it represents a threat to citizen security in member countries. In a draft resolution by the EU Council, the body defended the need to have a balance between privacy and security regarding the encryption of communications.
The text states that it is necessary to “protect the privacy and security of communications through encryption.” However, it also ensures that the authorities must have a certain level of access to these communications to carry out security tasks against “serious” crimes.
Despite expressing itself in favor of encryption, the institution values this ability to access encrypted data as “extremely important” by security agencies. “Some of the actions taken must balance these interests,”
The European Union advocates permanent cooperation and debate with companies in the technology sector to achieve the abovementioned balance. “The technical solutions to obtain access to encrypted data must comply with the principles of legality, transparency, necessity, and proportionality.”
The European Union calls for a “coherent regulatory framework”
Since it is still proposed as a future scenario, the European Union document does not even outline how this “balance” between respect for privacy and the guarantee of security for the citizens of the region would be achieved.
What the institution does state is that there must be an exhaustive review of the regulatory frameworks of each EU country to develop “a coherent regulatory framework throughout the EU.” Mainly, this legal framework should allow the authorities to “carry out their operational tasks effectively” and “use their investigative powers”.
Concerning these powers, the Council recognizes that they must be subject to judicial control and must respect the fundamental rights of citizens, preserving “the advantages of encryption”.
Furthermore, the EU outlines some key aspects to advance its vision on encryption. For the Council, this happens through the union of efforts between all the Member States, the definition of innovative approaches from the technological point of view, the analysis of solutions, and high-quality training in these solutions.
The position of the European Union only adheres to that of countries such as Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, and New Zealand, that group of nations issued a joint statement at that time assuring that end-to-end encryption represents “serious risks to public safety”.
Even the communiqué of the Council of the EU has approaches very similar to those of these seven countries. In both cases, they claim to defend the encryption of communications saying that it is a safe way to protect the privacy of their citizens while also claiming to have access to their communications. In the case of the October communiqué, the countries involved advocated such access “in any circumstance.”
By: Jenson Nuñez.