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Pirates on the Council decision: encryption is a protection, not a threat

Brussels 25th of November 2020Today’s agenda of the Council of the European Union included the adoption of a resolution regarding the dismantling of encryption. If the resolution is ratified, the Commission will be encouraged and empowered to propose new European legislation. Consequently, the industry will have to cooperate in order to find a possible technical solution, such as ‘back doors’ allowing law enforcement access to private communication. Services, such as Signal or Whatsapp, would not be capable to protect their users. While the European Pirates agree that the spread of terrorist content and child abuse material needs to be tackled, we disagree with the means implied by the resolution. The Pirates consistently point out the risk of decreasing the overall security of communications, and the potential for misuse against all of us. Hence, we have to fight back for encryption and for the security of all Europeans on the Internet.

“Attempts to weaken encryption on the Internet have been with us since ever. The proponents usually use the protection of users as the main arguments. However, people can be protected only if they can encrypt sensitive data and safely communicate with their friends, families, colleagues, and customers. If we want to maintain safety on the Internet, we have to protect encryption – not destroy it,” stated Marcel Kolaja, Vice-President of the European Parliament.

“We are being told the fiction that you can break encryption for the bad guys without harming the good guys. It is throwing the baby out with the bathwater and endangers millions of European citizens,” added Markéta Gregorová, Pirate Member of the European Parliament

“As soon as messaging services allow for the decryption of private communications, for instance by implementing backdoors or providing master keys, the security of communications is broken once and for all. It doesn´t matter if it´s for legal purposes or for something else. In that case, we are simply going to lose our privacy: or force users to completely circumvent the European framework and destroy the European single market. This is a clear lose-lose situation,” said Pirate Member of the European Parliament and the chairman of Europea Pirate party Mikuláš Peksa.

“Contrary to what governments would have us believe, we have to choose between interception and security. Those who want to sacrifice secure encryption in order to enable eavesdropping will destroy the protection of private secrets, business secrets, and state secrets, and open the door to mass-spying by foreign intelligence services as well as hacker attacks. There is no such thing as a ‘partial backdoor’ to online communications. The security of all our communications must be given priority. This has been the clear position of the European Parliament since 2017,” concluded Pirate Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer.

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