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Cracking Down on Encryption in Europe

Adrian Mudd   June 19, 2017

On Wednesday 14 June, ministers from the central government and federal states in Germany devised a new law to give authorities access to private messages, as well as to fingerprint children as young as six.

encryption in europe

The ministers commented that encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp and Signal, allow criminals and militants to evade traditional surveillance, thereby causing a increased threat to society.

With the rise of militant attacks in Europe – France, Germany and Britain, for example – EU government officials see no choice but to ramp up their security and surveillance measures.

The UK has also proposed forcing messaging services to let authorities access encrypted communications.

Austria is also in discussions about how they can make monitoring encrypted messages easier, and there are plans to build a linked network of cameras among other devices to read vehicle licence plates more effectively.

After the tragic incident where a lorry attack killed 12 people at a Berlin Christmas market, Germany has struggled to integrate thousands of refugees. As a result, security and surveillance have become high priorities on the political agenda.

This new plan is also combined with an agreement between ministers to lower the age limit for fingerprinting minors from 14 to 6 for asylum seekers.

Ministers also agreed that improved communication between the different local and national police and investigation agencies was a must.

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