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After terrorist attack: EU will in future forbid completely encrypted communication via messenger

EU security
(Post picture: © 2020

After the terrorist attack in Vienna, the EU Council of Ministers pulled the rip cord and would like to ban completely private communication via encrypted messengers without the possibility of reading in the EU in the future. This would affect end-to-end encrypted messengers such as Threema, Signal and WhatsApp. From December onwards, the resolution could be passed without further discussion.

Like "" with reference to the documents available to the ORF berichtet, the EU is now drawing conclusions after the terrorist attack in Vienna. Within a week, documents and resolutions were drawn up which could mean the end of anonymous encryption in the European Union. Platform operators who operate their services in the EU will be forced to store a “master key” in order to monitor encrypted chats and messages. This means that the encryption via this key can be decrypted in the event of a "suspected case" and encrypted messages can thus be read out. This means that communication would no longer only be encrypted between the individual users (E2E), but could always be overridden in case of doubt.

It is not known whether the investigations to prevent the terrorist attack failed because of the encryption, let alone the terrorists communicated via encrypted services.

Austria continues to want a "federal Trojan"

Communication via secure, encrypted messenger has long been a thorn in the side of some countries. As "Der Standard“ As reported on Friday last week, after the terrorist attack in Vienna Austria was again considering tighter surveillance of the population using federal Trojans. Data protectionists are still critical of this proposal: "If the state suddenly promotes security gaps in order to use them against its own population, sooner or later it will become a problem for all of us Protrouble."

Spy software to read communications from encrypted messengers should have arrived in Austria in April 2020. However, this draft of the “Federal Trojan” was not constitutional and was approved by the Constitutional Court in December 2019 largely tilted. There will be a comprehensive package of measures as a result of the terrorist attack this Monday, so on in the article of "Der Standard. "

Internal document on the “ban on encryption” not available to the public

French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss “further steps against terrorism” with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the beginning of the week. This new internal document of the German Council Presidency on the EU's encryption ban, dated November 6th, will certainly be an issue. This resolution is so far agreed that it can be adopted at the beginning of December without further discussion and voting. The document is classified as a "limit", ie not accessible to the public. However, the document is on the ORF website here. to call.

Under the guise of terrorism for "a better balance"

EU encryption ban document November 2020

It is about the "better balance". (Screenshot: EU Council of Ministers)

For several years now, the EU Council of Ministers has been using terrorism as an opportunity to smuggle through tightening of surveillance, said the author of the FM4 article, Moechel. The current decision is now about "creating a better balance", one reads in the document of the EU Council of Ministers. They want to work with industry to continue to rely more on encryption, but to make this encrypted data accessible to authorities. So far there has been virtually no realistic possibility for authorities to read along with encrypted - at least with open source - messengers.

The EU's idea of ​​the "encryption ban"

According to further information available to the “ORF”, they want to choose the monitoring method “Exceptional Access”. That is already evident indirectly from this document of the EU Council of Ministers. For example, chat operators from E2E messengers will in future store “master keys” on the server so that certain messages can be decrypted in the worst-case scenario.

Strictly speaking, one could clearly speak of a "Man-in-the-Middle' speak to an 'attacker' who stands in the middle of the two communicators. So it would be without attracting attention proeasily possible to read the message history of certain people. Whether it is an unauthorized hacker or the respective authority. This means that "Exceptional Access" through this "collecting point" on the server is also an interesting target for attackers to read messages without authorization and forward them to strangers.

EU encryption ban "Exceptional Access"

The encryption method "Exceptional Access". (Screenshot: EU Council of Ministers)

So these are the plans of the EU Council of Ministers, whose adoption is scheduled for early December. This could be in the video conference with all EU interior and justice ministers prowalk across the stage without a hitch. The so-called "upload filter", also known as "Article 13", "Article 15" or "Article 17", will play a further important role in the near future. On this subject we already have at this point reported in detail.

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David Wurm

Do that TechnikNews-Ding together with a great team for several years. Works in the background on the server infrastructure and is also responsible for everything editorial. Is fascinated by current technology and likes to blog about everything digital. In his free time, he can often be found developing websites, taking photos or making radio.

David has already written 890 articles and left 372 comments.

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Unbelievable what is planned here. But it was foreseeable. Could one actually decrypt messages that have already been sent?