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Now, EU is deliberating on law enforcement access to end-to-end encrypted communications

Photo of padlock to represent encryption

After India, USA, United Kingdom and Australia, it appears that end-to-end encryption is under threat from the European Union. The European Commission, the EU's executive branch, is contemplating ways to give law enforcement agencies access to end-to-end encrypted communications so that they can crack down on child abuse networks and other organised crimes, the Financial Times reported citing an internal, "need to know" note from the Commission. “The objective here is to enable the intelligence community to track WhatsApp messages,” an unnamed official at the Commission told FT. This note is reportedly not the official position of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU. In response to our question about the Commission's official stance, a spokesperson said, European Commission's official stance on law enforcement agencies' access to E2E encrypted communications: "E2EE [end-to-end encryption] is an important tool to enhance privacy and security of communications. The European Electronic Communications Code encourages the use of E2EE where appropriate. This should be without prejudice to the powers of Member States to ensure that electronic evidence is made available to courts, in accordance with an appropriate legal framework, independent of whether it is encrypted or not." — European Commission spokesperson to MediaNama This suggests that the Commission is of the view that as long as a law exists, backdoors may be on the table. In response to our question about if access to end-to-end encrypted communications would be in compliance with the European General Data Protection Guidelines, the spokesperson wrote, "Like any…

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