In the wake of the reintroduction and reconsideration of France's Digital Republic bill, as well as the Charlie Hebdo and Nov. 13 attacks of 2015, the French government has reconsidered the idea of backdoor encryption once again — and as of Jan. 14, it has promptly shut it down.
Axelle Lemaire, France's deputy minister for digital affairs, spoke out against a proposed bill that would allow government agencies access to personal user data, much like the Pakistani government attempted to get BlackBerry to let it do in 2015 (after the tech company threatened to shut down operations, the Pakistani government relented). In short: it would more or less be like a legal NSA watch.
"What you propose is vulnerability by design," said Lemaire. "It's inappropriate."
Lemaire decried the bill over the loss of protected privacy, arguing that without privacy protection, personal data would be a thing of the past, leaving users to abandon these products. In the end, the move could ultimately cause a huge upset within the technology sector or even make it obsolete, according to the deputy minister.
The shutdown of the encryption amendment comes mere months after French police forces pressured the government to block access to free public Wi-Fi and Tor during France's state of emergency following the November attacks; the measures were proposed in order to easily block terrorist activity.
Despite reports first published by Le Monde that alleged the government planned to move forward with the block, Prime Minister Manuel Valls quickly denied the rumors.
"Internet is a freedom, is an extraordinary means of communication between people, it is a benefit to the economy," said the prime minister at the time. "It is also a means for terrorists to communicate and spread their totalitarian ideology. The police must take in all of these aspects to improve their fight against terrorism, but the measures we take must be effective."
Photo: William Murphy | Flickr