Dutch Government Supports Unadulterated Encryption

Hi folks,

Netherlands has released a statement calling for real strong encryption that involves no backdoors whatsoever.

Officials have stated that with regards to  privacy and confidentiality, they staunchly oppose any legislation that would ultimately grant them access to encrypted data.

The government officials mentioned in a four-page letter to Dutch House of Representatives from the Ministry of Security and Justice, “The government recognizes the importance of strong encryption for Internet security, to support the protection of the privacy of citizens… the government believes that it is currently not appropriate to adopt restrictive legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands,”

Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur calls for stronger encryption, arguing that it’s essential when it comes to protecting the privacy of citizens, companies, the government, and the Dutch economy.

He wrote, “Encryption supports respect for privacy and the secret communication of citizens by providing them a means to communicate protected data confidentially and with integrity…This is also important for the exercise of the freedom of expression. For example, it enables citizens, but also allows empowers important democratic functions like journalism by allowing confidential communication.”

Allowing backdoors would weaken encryption and open some systems up to “criminals, terrorists and foreign intelligence services,” something that could have “undesirable consequences.” Van der Steur acknowledged

Van der Steur pointed out in the statement that the confidentiality of communication is protected in Article 10 and Article 13 of the Dutch Constitution, along with Article 8 in the European Convention on Human Rights, and Articles 7 and 8 in the EU Charter.

It’s likely that this move is spurred by proposals brought forth in both the U.K. and China to make companies to install backdoors so the government can sniff users’ communications.

Minister David Cameron, the Prime Minister of UK is hoping to pass legislation known as the the Investigatory Powers Bill  requiring companies to force a backdoor into products at the behest of the government.

According to the New York Times, an early draft of legislature passed in China two weeks ago would have “required Internet companies and other technology suppliers to hand over encryption codes and other sensitive data for official vetting before they went into use,”.

Dutch parliament donated half a million Euros to the OpenSSL Project and Van der Steur’s statement reaffirms that Netherland’s stance on privacy was considered afterwards. Officials voted last October October to fund the group in hopes of further supporting the development and enhancement of encryption.

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It’s good to see that at least some governments are taking encryption seriously enough

Source: Akati

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