ICCL, HCLU and Liberty call on states to defend end-to-end encryption and safeguard our texts, emails, voice calls, social media, and online expenditure

The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and Liberty express grave concerns regarding calls from the Council of the European Union and the European Commission to allow police authorities intercept encrypted communications.

End-to-end encryption keeps us safe

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is vital to protect the privacy and security of citizens and governments around the world, as it prevents any third party from reading private messages sent between a sender and recipient. But E2EE doesn’t just safeguard our texts, emails, voice calls and social media. E2EE also protects and secures our data when it comes to personal banking transactions, online credit card use, online shopping, buying health insurance, accessing health data, and carrying out our employment. We are alarmed that the foundation of trust that enables the digital market would be put in jeopardy.

Best policy decisions need data

Europol itself reported last year that official statistics on the number of investigations that require decryption of data are not available. Without this data, how can we measure the proportionality and necessity of weakening encryption which would have consequences for, at the very least, the more than 450 million unique mobile phone subscribers in Europe?

Alarm regarding encryption-breaking proposals

The plans strike at the heart of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the right to respect for private life, the home and correspondence, including the privacy of messages, phone calls and emails.

Call on states to defend secure and private communication rights

Any weakening of that encryption, no matter how well intentioned, will weaken security around these activities; increase well-founded fears of fraud and identity theft; and likely breed distrust.

We are calling on authorities to protect E2EE and safeguard the privacy and innumerable daily security benefits and uses of encryption by people around the world.

ICCL, HCLU and Liberty are members of INCLO, a network of 15 human rights organisations.

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