The European Union appears to be paving the way for a move against the encrypted messaging services after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, Vienna and Nice.
In a joint statement issued earlier this month, the Ministers of Internal Affairs of European Union member states called on heads of state to consider the issue of data encryption so that relevant authorities can collect digital evidence and use it legally.
The statement comes after the leak of several internal EU documents on encryption, in which one of the documents refers to the development of measures against end-to-end encryption as a way to combat child abuse.
Encryption is a problem for government agencies trying to monitor criminal communications.
A spokesman for the European Union: The European Union lawmakers have long looked for a fair balance between privacy and the ability of police agencies to do their jobs.
Member states have called, on multiple occasions, for solutions that allow law enforcement agencies and other competent authorities to have legal access to digital evidence, without banning or weakening encryption.
As stipulated in the Union’s Security Strategy for July, the European bloc endorses an approach that preserves the effectiveness of encryption in protecting privacy and communications security, while providing an effective response to serious crime and terrorism.
EU counterterrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove sought to do this by avoiding the back door approach in favor of a front door approach, where an outside party works with the approval of the crypto provider, not without it.
This approach is impossible, the researchers say, as the result is to eliminate data ownership and access control that inevitably leads to a security vulnerability.
The researchers warned that the back door approach is up for discussion, and would create problems for national security and data privacy, without reducing the likelihood that criminals will find covert ways to communicate, either through the dark web or other encrypted means.
They said: The ability to communicate freely and confidentially is a basic human right in any free and open society, and removing the ability of citizens to share information without being monitored leads to high levels of self-censorship and the inability of people to exercise freedom of expression.