Hungarian government plans to enforce encryption backdoors

According to an action plan to fight terrorism being drafted by the Hungarian Ministry of Interior, a person using a service providing encrypted communication could be imprisoned for up to two years.

Service providers could be ordered to unveil the IP address and other data of the person charged. The draft plan would also expand state surveillance capabilities. As an additional absurdity, the Hungarian Parliament has just awarded with an innovation prize the creators CryptTalk, a software for making encrypted calls.

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union's view is that with such a legislation the state would punish those who are making conscious effort for increasing their security. Besides being completely unrealistic, penalizing encryption makes the citizens choose between leaving themselves unprotected or breaking an absurd criminal law inappropriate for achieving its goal.

Even though the government has backed off the plan following a five-party consultation, it still plans to target those applications whose aim is to encrypt communication and try to force them to open backdoor access. This is not only problematic because the companies will probably not cooperate but also because there are hundreds of them, based in different countries and under different jurisdictions, it is unrealistic that one government could be able to oversee and control them. Also, the same risk of opening a backdoor remains: it allows access not only to the government that initially intends to use it, but for hackers, companies and secret services - anyone with the skill of using it.

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