Are We Heading Towards EU Legislation Banning End-to-End Encryption?

December 2020
Region: Europe

The possibility to impose EU obligations to messaging services using end-to-end encryption to cooperate with law enforcement agencies has been dominating justice and home affairs discussions for some time now, as a way to better prepare for planned terrorist attacks throughout Europe. A Council of Home Affairs Ministers endorsed on 14 December 2020 a Council Resolution on Encryption, paving the way to create a regulatory framework to that effect.

Since 2015, a series of campaigns run alternately by Europol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or the services of the “Five Eyes” alliance, were building towards the development of this Council Resolution. In October, Interior Ministers of the alliance called on the internet companies once again to equip their IT networks with backdoors so that law enforcement agencies and competent authorities could access end-to-end encrypted apps to police online criminality.

This client alert provides an overview of the Council Resolution and sets out what’s at stake. The broad range of consequences to the tech sector stemming from the Resolution should be closely monitored and assessed. We stand ready to provide assistance in advising clients on the most effective strategic business decisions and legal considerations in this context.

If you have any questions about the impact of the Council Resolution for your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact us.