The Council today adopted a resolution on encryption, highlighting the need for security through encryption and security despite encryption.
In this resolution, the Council underlines its support for the development, implementation and use of strong encryption as a necessary means of protecting fundamental rights and the digital security of citizens, governments, industry and society. At the same time, the Council notes the need to ensure that competent law enforcement and judicial authorities are able to exercise their legal powers, both online and offline, to protect our societies and citizens.
Law enforcement authorities and the judiciary are increasingly dependent on access to electronic evidence to effectively fight terrorism, organised crime, child sexual abuse, and a range of other cybercrime and cyber-enabled crimes. Such access is essential to the success of law enforcement and criminal justice in cyberspace. However, there are instances where encryption renders access to and analysis of evidence extremely challenging or impossible in practice.
The EU is striving to establish an active discussion with the technology industry, and with close involvement from research, academia, industry, civil society and other stakeholders, so as to strike the right balance between ensuring the continued use of strong encryption technology and guaranteeing the powers of law enforcement and the judiciary to operate on the same terms as in the offline world. Potential technical solutions will need to respect privacy and fundamental rights, and preserve the value that technological progress brings to society.