Brussels, 7 October 2019: The UK, Australia, and the United States asked Facebook and other companies to delay their plans to implement end-to-end encryption across their messaging services and to provide law enforcement with lawful access to their users’ encrypted content. In this context, EuroISPA reiterates its support for strong encryption, a fundamental element to ensure cybersecurity and users’ privacy.
On 4 October 2019, high ranking officials from the UK, Australia and the USA addressed a letter to Facebook requesting it does “not proceed with its plan to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services without providing […] means for lawful access to the content of communications to protect our citizens.”
Maximilian Schubert, President of EuroISPA and Chair of the Cybersecurity Committee, reacted: “EuroISPA’s members continuously work with law enforcement towards making the online sphere a safer space for businesses as well as individuals. At the same time, EuroISPA firmly supports strong encryption, as it plays a fundamental role in ensuring cybersecurity and users’ privacy”.
End-to-end encryption in messaging services, as well as cryptographic protocols such as TLS (Transport Layer Security) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), are essential for creating trust in the Internet. The now suggested techniques aim to allow law enforcement to access private communications. Experience has however shown that such measures will always be exploited by ill-intentioned hackers, undermining cybersecurity and privacy for all users and businesses online. This would weaken that very trust and might result in a slower take-up of online services throughout the EU.
Therefore, given the societal advantages of encryption and the negative effects of mandatory backdoors, EuroISPA opposes the request of the United Kingdom, Australia, as well as the United States. EuroISPA’s members stand ready to collaborate with law enforcement authorities to assist them in criminal investigations.