CATF Reports Sep. 1, 2016, 10:05am

France and Germany are pushing for increased access to encrypted messaging apps following a summer of numerous terrorist attacks and widespread frustration at governments’ inability to crackdown on the attackers. The French and German Interior Ministers, Bernard Cazeneuve and Thomas de Maiziere respectively, both voiced their concerns that encrypted messaging apps are becoming an increasingly useful tool for terrorists planning attacks in their countries. The ministers reassured the public that they only want to work with messaging companies to ensure that their apps are not aiding terrorists and are not pushing to ban encrypted messenger apps. Specific solutions to the proposed partnership with companies that offer encrypted messaging apps were no mentioned, but the ministers did emphasize their hope that EU leaders would discuss encryption during the upcoming summit in Bratislava, Slovakia and develop a unified European system for sharing intelligence.

Cazeneuve and Maiziere’s concerns come during an era of increased suspicion surrounding the role of social media and online communication in promoting terrorism and aiding extremists. While opponents of sharing encrypted material with governments claim that full privacy is crucial for online security, security experts contend that encrypted messaging is becoming an increasingly important tool for terrorists to plan attacks, hide their identities, and trade weapons. Following Twitter’s announcement that it had suspended 360,000 accounts that promoted terrorism since mid-2015, Germany and France have added increased pressure on encrypted messaging apps to reform their strict policies. Telegram, an encrypted messaging service that is widely used by jihadists for their insistence in staying out of private chats, is thought to be one of the central targets of the recent French and German announcement.

From ABC News:

France and Germany pushed Tuesday for Europe-wide rules requiring the makers of encrypted messaging apps such as Telegram to help governments monitor communications among suspected extremists…

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said French authorities have detained three people this month with "clear attack plans," but police need better tools to eavesdrop on encrypted text conversations utilizing the kinds of powers used to wiretap phones.

He and German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere insisted they're not pushing to ban encrypted services. Instead, Cazeneuve said they want to work with companies that offer such apps or services to ensure they can't be abused by militants. They also expect those companies to give investigators access to encrypted messages when needed.”

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