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Society

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Renseignement: un amendement pour empêcher de se protéger

by Humanite.fr

Intelligence: an amendment to prevent self-protection

Translated Saturday 18 April 2015, by Adrian Jordan

In an amendment to his law, Jean-Jacques Urvoas intends to force cryptology services, which protect their users’ data by encoding, to give him the keys. This would allow him to read all contents exchanged on line, even the most protected.

It really is the end of secret correspondence, the anonymity of citizens. The rhetoric of the government, which promises to capture nothing but metadata without regard to the content of exchanges, is lame, unsound. Having intercepted email address, postal address, telephone number, bank card, purchases, movements and correspondents... there is no need to have a name in order to know everything. However, with this new amendment, proposed by Jean-Jacques Urvoas, the intelligence services intend to force cryptology services to hand over the encryption keys, so they may read the content of secure exchanges.

“Article L244-1 of the intelligence draft: Natural or legal persons, providing cryptology services for the purpose of assuring confidentiality, must provide agents named within article L242-1, when requested, the means to decode modified data used in their services...”
Under article L245-2 of the CSI, the act of not acceding to the demands of the named authorities is punishable by 2 years’ imprisonment and a 30,000 euro fine. These measures would bring France in line with those already introduced in the United States. Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit, the cryptology tool used by Edward Snowden to communicate in complete confidence, explained the dangers of such a measure to the European Parliament, and why the FBI injunction will force him to close up shop. It leads to the absurd situation where wanting to keep a conversation private becomes a suspicious act.

Ladar Levison: “I believe in the need to conduct investigations. But there is a reason that those investigations are supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be difficult to invade somebody’s privacy because of how intrusive it is, because of how disruptive it is. If we don’t have a right to privacy, how do we have a free and open discussion? What good is the right to free speech if it’s not protected, if you can’t have a private discussion with someone about something you disagree with. Think about the chilling effect that has. Think about the chilling effect it has on countries that don’t have a right to privacy? […] And what’s happening is that the methods being employed are creating, in effect, an arms race, forcing people who want to have private conversations to develop better and more secure ways of communicating. Unfortunately, what that means is that both citizens and criminals are using the same methods of communication. And the criminal method of communication is becoming harder and harder to decipher for law enforcement."


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