In a document that has been leaked to the media from the European Union, the opinions of the 20 member countries regarding the encryption of communications are collected. One of those who wants to ban it is Spain.
End-to-end encryption takes time provoking debates in the governments of different countries of all the world. Latest, as reported by Wired, is none other than Spain. A leaked document to which the prestigious media has had access reveals that there is strong support among the members of the European Union for the proposals that want to be able to scan private messages in search of illegal content.
The document itself would be a survey detailing the opinion of member countries regarding encryption legislation. The idea is to create a law, through mechanisms that do not seem entirely clear, that force tech companies to scan their platforms (including the private messages of its users) to search for illegal content.
Spain has the most extreme position against encryption
According to the media, the member countries of the EU they have been debating for years whether end-to-end encryption should be protected as part of the fundamental right to privacy, or otherwise weakened to help law enforcement catch criminals using these platforms.
Of the 20 countries represented in the document (67 pages that are publicly accessible thanks to the leak), it is very striking that the most extreme position against is that of Spain. According to what was leaked, the Spanish representatives declared the following:
Ideally, in our view, it would be desirable to legally prevent EU-based service providers from implementing end-to-end encryption.
This would mean that apps like WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal, considered the queen of apps with end-to-end encryption, they would no longer keep our conversations private hidden from the eyes of third parties.
Most other countries, by the way, are in favor of some kind of encryption, but not to break it completely. From Wired they have also contacted the member countries included in the document and none of them have denied its veracity.
Spain, when responding to a request for comment, said that it is “imperative that we have access to the data” and defends that encrypted communications should be able to be decrypted by the competent authorities. From the Ministry of the Interior it is believed that encryption represents a threat, an opinion that Poland also shares.
In this eternal debate on encryption, once again, we are faced with the dilemma of giving up privacy in favor of security, with the underlying motive of dealing a blow to the pedophile and child pornography networks. The underlying issue, according to the general secretary for Europe of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital NGO, breaking the encryption would be “disproportionate, and it would be ineffective in protecting children“.
Various security experts point out that any potential backdoor into encrypted communications would break the general principle of this type of communication and it would greatly undermine their security. And if law enforcement has the option of deciphering these messages, so can malicious hackers (or those governments have on their payroll).
Be that as it may, the general feeling among experts in security and encrypted communications around the world is that most countries better understand what is at stake when it comes to tapping into encrypted communications.