French Parliament Votes For Law That Would Put Tech Execs In Jail If They Don't Decrypt Data

from the goodbye-computer-security-in-france dept

Okay, this is just getting silly now. A bunch of reactionary French politicians have voted to put tech execs in jail if they refuse to decrypt data for criminal investigations:
The controversial amendment, drafted by the rightwing opposition, stipulates that a private company which refuses to hand over encrypted data to an investigating authority would face up to five years in jail and a €350,000 (£270,000) fine.

Telecoms operating companies would be liable to lesser penalties but would still face up to two years in jail.
Of course, this comes at the same time that basically the entire tech industry is rallying in support of Apple's stance of refusing to hack into its own systems to remove security features and make it easier to decrypt data. And it's coming right as the world was ridiculing Brazil for arresting (and then releasing) a Facebook exec for refusing to hand over data from subsidiary Whatsapp.

This kind of move is so stupid on so many levels that it defies any kind of logic. It's bad for security, because weak encryption puts us all at much greater risk than the threat of terrorists or criminals using encryption (in part, because this kind of thing won't stop them from using secure encryption, and in part because those threats are very low probability risks). It's also bad for the economy, because you've just given a ton of important tech companies every reason in the world to no longer operate in France due to such a ridiculous law that may put execs in jail. It's bad for the public in that it will mean less secure services and devices that put them at risk, while also potentially cutting off more innovative and useful products and services.

This is the kind of kneejerk reaction from people who are too ignorant and too scared to understand the actual technology and the actual issues at stake. Why do citizens in these countries continue to allow ignorant scared people to make such blatantly bad rules?
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Filed Under: backdoors, criminal, encryption, execs, france, jail


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  1. identicon
    kallethen, 7 Mar 2016 @ 6:45am

    Why idiots keep getting voted in.

    Why do citizens in these continue to allow ignorant scared people to make such blatantly bad rules?

    I think Douglas Adams put it best.

    "So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"
    "It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
    "You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
    "Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
    "But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
    "Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

    (Mind you, the same would be true of my own government...)

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