E.U. may ban FBI-style iPhone hacking demands


iPhone hack
Law would undermine attempts to break security.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Attempts to force tech companies in the U.K. to hand over encrypted messages could be scuttled by EU proposals.

European members of parliament for the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee have tabled laws banning countries from seeking to break encrypted messages. It would also force tech companies which don’t use strong encryption for communications to do so.

The draft proposals read: “When encryption of electronic communications data is used, decryption, reverse engineering or monitoring of such communications shall be prohibited. Member states shall not impose any obligations on electronic communications service providers that would result in the weakening of the security and encryption of their networks and services.”

The potential legislation undermines U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s election pledge to leave terrorists with no “safe space” by forcing companies to break encryption.

It’s not clear how leaving the EU with Brexit would affect the laws, should they be passed — although it would likely mean Britain is no longer compelled to follow European Union legislation.

The battle over encryption

The battle over encryption versus keeping people safe by giving governments to ability to access personal messages is a hotly-contested topic.

In recent years, it has landed Apple in a battle with the FBI over whether it would agree to help hack the locked iPhone belonging to one of the shooters in a mass shooting incident in San Bernardino. Although Apple refused, the FBI was eventually able to gain access to the handset without Apple’s help. Under the proposed MEP regulations, this action would be banned in European countries.

Apple also clashed with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump over its pro-encryption stance. Trump even called for a boycott of Apple products as a result.

Where do you stand on the debate? Leave your comments below.

Source: Telegraph

  • Alastair Clark

    Yet another reason i’ll be sad to leave the EU. the Witch will likely repeal that law as soon as we brexit

    • Jaca Paladium

      You are right. Privacy is a very basic right. Nobody should thrust in your own government enough to allow such thing. The terrorists wants to break all kind of freedom we have. If May drop this right from us, it means that the terrorists are the winners.

      • John Nemo

        Hello all,
        Privacy is indeed a very basic right.
        The question is : to what end should we consider this right as infrangible ?
        When a terrorist strikes and there exists a clearly identified possibility that his techno belongings hide secrets that could defuse other attacks, I find rather odd not to try to break into the device to spare human lives.
        I do agree with the fact that this question is very sensible and must not be underestimated : fear is such bad a councelor.
        But I think that regarding very clearly and strongly law-determined circonstances (in fact only terrorism and war) a full scaled legally allowed attempt to break the code and secrets is compulsory for state authorities : their very duty is to protect the people they are working for.

      • Jaca Paladium

        Maybe…allow governments to try to hack is not so bad at all. But don’t allow the use of cryptography is not acceptable. That’s what TM wanna do in UK.

      • John Nemo

        Of course !
        I totally agree with you.
        In fact, in my humble opinion it seems obvious that cryptography is the only efficient solution to the real risk against our privacy.
        When you send a mail, the odds it gets intercepted by mean of eavesdropping is indeed extremely high.
        I would dare a comparison : non encrypted email is just like a postcard. A cryptographic protocol is nothing different than a good old envelope. Who would send private or sensitive documents without an envelope ?
        So, yes, cryptography is nowadays essential and Ms May is totally wrong AS are EU authorities.

        With these matters, a balanced point of view is priceless.

  • Solublepeter

    Typo “The potential legislation undermines U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s election pledge to leave terrorists with a “safe space” by forcing companies to break encryption.’

    I think you are missing a “no” there, just before Safe Space.

    Although nothing May says surprises me, anymore.