Le Monde | • Updated | By
the counterterrorism investigations stumble too often encrypted messages, passing on applications like WhatsApp or Telegram, and unreadable for investigators. This idea, in the air for several weeks, was resumed, Tuesday 23 August, with Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, at a joint conference with his German counterpart, Thomas de Maizière.
“the exchanges increasingly systematic operated via some applications, such as Telegram, must be able, within the framework of judicial proceedings, be identified and used as evidence by the investigation and magistrates services” said Mr. Cazeneuve, who wants to “truly arm our democracies on the encryption issue” .
the French minister welcomed the collaboration with some American social networks, like Twitter, but clearly targeted messaging Telegram, popular with jihadists and to which “States have no interlocutor” . Contacted by Le Monde Telegram has not responded to our requests
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Aware that national response is futile in a landscape dominated by foreign companies (WhatsApp and Twitter are American, Telegram is of Russian origin), the minister said “initiative European “ that he was calling it a few days ago. He suggests that “The European Commission is studying the possibility of a legislative act to reconcile the rights and obligations of all operators” . So the idea is to ensure that courier installed on phones are subject to the same obligations of cooperation that telecommunications services, such as telephone operators. The contours that could take that action, and the obligations it would carry on encryption, remain unclear. This question should be on the agenda of the next summit of heads of state of the European Union on 26 September.
The news agency Reuters has just purchased it a few days ago a document of the European Commission in which the latter was thinking to renovate the legal framework applying to telecom to be able to submit as actors Telegram. With, ultimately, the ability to ensure a better cooperation of these and you can “decrypt messages as part of criminal investigations” .
Mr. Cazeneuve emphasized the nature “judicial” a possible access to protected messages. Translation: this new tool would be put in the hands of judges and investigators they mandateraient, and not in those of the intelligence services, working upstream
A very strong encryption <. / h2>
It will however be difficult to ensure a complete and systematic access to discussions protected by cryptography. Several email applications have, in fact, set up encryption technology told “end to end” : even they can not access the data exchanged by their users. This is the case of certain discussions Telegram, and all those on WhatsApp.
“Let me be clear to avoid unnecessary controversy. He did, of course, never intended to undermine the principle of encryption trade “ immediately said the minister. The day before, the National Digital Council, a consultative body to the Prime Minister, published with the President of the Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés an article in Le Monde , warning the government against his inclinations against encryption of messages
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the national security Agency information systems, responsible for the iT security of state, warned, too, in the spring, in a note whose content was revealed recently by Libération in early August, . against the risks that could pose a general framework for encryption technologies
security specialists are indeed unanimous: it is impossible to weaken terrorist message encryption techniques without undermining protection offered encryption of these messengers daily to their hundreds of millions of users. More generally, encryption technologies contribute to the security of many activities online payments for sensitive communications of the State through the very valuable intellectual property of many French companies