French Government Wants A 'Global Initiative' To Undermine Encryption And Put Everyone At Risk

from the this-is-a-bad,-bad-idea dept

Some bad ideas never seem to die. It appears that the French government is working to enlist other countries to try to undermine encryption and put us all at much greater risk. That's about the only way to read the news that French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is promoting a "global initiative" to "fight" messaging encryption used by ISIS.
Messaging encryption, widely used by Islamist extremists to plan attacks, needs to be fought at international level, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him promote a global initiative.

He meets his German counterpart, Thomas de Maiziere, on Aug. 23 in Paris and they will discuss a European initiative with a view to launching an international action plan, Cazeneuve said.
Remember, of course, that much of the planning and communications for the Paris attacks last year were done without encryption, and in fact much of the planning was done fairly out in the open with little effort to mask what was happening. Of course, that won't always be true -- and certainly it's quite likely that people are plotting all sorts of nasty stuff with encryption -- but even then that doesn't actually result in law enforcement "going dark" as they'd have you believe. First of all, encryption is still difficult to use and easy to mess up. In fact, most reports suggest that ISIS is pretty bad about its opsec when it comes to encryption. And, even if they are successfully using encryption, they still leave plenty of other breadcrumbs for law enforcement and the intelligence community to track.

On top of that, any effort to weaken encryption is both dangerous and pointless. A mandate for backdoors or something similar only introduces vulnerabilities into encryption that will be targeted by criminals (and possibly terrorists!) putting many, many, many more people at risk. And it's pointless because there are enough open source encryption products at this point that trying to regulate other products won't help much. ISIS will just focus on using code they already have access to.

So none of this adds up, other than as a stupid reactionary move out of fear and ignorance. A "global initiative" to fight encryption ignores the fact that encryption isn't some invisibility cloak that masks all terrorist activity. It also makes us all less safe, and probably won't stop ISIS from actually using strong encryption. So what is the point other than shadowboxing and making it look like politicians are doing something, when they're not sure what to do about possible attacks?

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 6:16pm

    The finger point!

    The soon to be age old excuse, they used encryption, to cover up their failure to follow leads that law enforcement have used for decades to solve crimes, before they had encryption to point their fingers at. I'm not sure if laziness is a sufficient reason, maybe too many haystacks are a contributing factor, there may be others. Getting back to basics would be a good idea.

    Maybe they should re-read the Sherlock Holmes novels for some direction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 6:31pm

    "We won't allow you to put our citizens at risk, we'll do it ourselves!"

    So add the french government to the pro-criminal, pro-terrorist lot I guess. Really, if they want to help criminals they could send them a fruit basket or something, they don't need to go above and beyond by gift-wrapping the public and handing it on a silver platter to every criminal out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 14 Aug 2016 @ 11:25am

      Re: "We won't allow you to put our citizens at risk, we'll do it ourselves!"

      odds are they are probably funding various terrorist groups against their enemies, or just funding the very ones they "publicly" fight against to justify their anti freedom laws and government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 7:47pm

    finally, a sensible reason for freedom fries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:46pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 12th, 2016 @ 7:47pm

      Along with our(American) disdain for the metric system.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        JoeCool (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 10:14pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 12th, 2016 @ 7:47pm

        We don't have disdain for metric measurement, we just object to the base unit as they're crazy. How about a compromise?

        A foot would be defined as the distance light travels in one nanosecond. That's 11.8 inches, close enough to a foot that people won't notice. Then make the foot 10 inches. Make a mile 5 kilofeet. That's 93% of the current mile... close enough again. See? Metric while still being familiar, and more based on something tangible than the meter!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2016 @ 2:38am

          Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Aug 12th, 2016 @ 7:47pm

          A metre is 39 inches, that's close enough to a yard already.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:07pm

    The banking system uses encryption

    Anyone who argues for backdoors should have all of their investment and banking accounts put in a system with a backdoor. That would only be used by the "good guys" for "good reasons". And while we're at it, their email & texts goes into a similarly backdoored system. Let's see how loud they argue for it then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 10:45pm

      Re: The banking system uses encryption

      I would love to see the face of this politicians and oligarchies when they discover that their money is gone thanks to a backdoor that they implemented and someone managed to get it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:17am

      Re: The banking system uses encryption

      They will be allowed to continue using the working version - as will the govt.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      NaBUru38 (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:32am

      Re: The banking system uses encryption

      But there would be exceptions to the no encription rule. Some key people would have special privileges, like presidents, generals, businessmen, me, but not anyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tyl, 13 Aug 2016 @ 1:56pm

      Re: The banking system uses encryption

      Every time these proposals are put into writing there are always exceptions for the government and their friends, like the bankers. It's the peons/serfs/little people that they don't want using encryption because it makes harder to keep an eye on them and they sure as hell don't want to surprised by some king of uprising.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 10:00pm

    You have to wonder if the migrant crisis is going to be used to drive this. Our govs get us into this position and then they panic when they see what is happening. Out the door go everyones rights.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 13 Aug 2016 @ 12:39am

    What is worse: fear and ignorance, or the people who nurture it for their own self-interest?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      The latter, by a large margin. The former can be fixed with education and rational discussion, while the latter group have a vested interest in sabotaging and undermining the former to keep people in fear and ignorant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2016 @ 3:11am

    didn't this already happen this week?

    with secureboot master key in the wild?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2016 @ 4:22am

      Re: didn't this already happen this week?

      Does that turn it into insecure boot?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Monday (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 8:34am

      Re: GOOD CALL!!!

      Way to pick up on that...

      "[with an estimated] 900 million devices were impacted since the bug can be exploited in any Android phone released in the last four years."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Scooby Doo, 13 Aug 2016 @ 8:52am

      Re: didn't this already happen this week?

      For the record, secureboot didn't leak any actual "keys". What did leak is a _policy_ that can be installed into secureboot and disables its checks - you might call that a "key" to secureboot since it definitely "unlocks" it. But the crypto keys themselves that actually sign and authenticate things in secureboot have _not_ leaked. I find that a notable distinction, although the general point of stuff being unavoidably leaky does stand.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stupd corupt govt, 13 Aug 2016 @ 3:18am

    french what?

    hey you french goofs go fuck yourself

    ya know these twits keep this up in 20 year isis wll have all of us jon to get rd of the panzies

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    all your locks are belong to us, 13 Aug 2016 @ 8:20am

    cant wait for jail doors to have back doored encryption..oh wait

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 8:28am

    Data Colection

    The French blaming ISIL has been a standard ploy the United States has used for years - starting with Iraq circa 2001. Terrorism is the first best scariest tactic in any developed country's arsenal of Data Collection.

    Never-mind the War On Terror is actually showing tangible results. ISIL is fifteen thousand fighters strong at the moment. And, they possess thread-like holds on their past conquests. 15k down from an estimated 55k to 70k active fighters by previous accounts, and the press release by US gov this week.

    Open Access for more security nationally, or internationally, is a red-herring. The GOP is reconsidering its stands on encryption because of the DNC Hack.

    I thought the French would have become more involved in the Coalition, but there doesn't seem to be any serious military reaction from that Government.

    But, encryption is the topic, and ISIL doesn't use it, and if they do, the Governments are not telling us - they would be showing us the cards they're holding.

    Encryption, anonymity, or anything tool that prevents collecting data is not good for Business - the Governments intruding into private citizens business.

    This is afterthought concerning French Domestic policy. They have had more than their fair share of assaults on their security, but half of these attacks are not actually attributable to ISIL. It is an after-the-fact claims made by the terror organization - an awful lot of their attacks seem to share the same motus of Mental Health issues. The flags were there. The people just were not educated enough, or willing to play the roll of armchair Psychologist - although both the Armchair Doc and the educated Doc cannot write prescriptions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:11am

    Rather obvious those leading this initiative will be using encryption for their files. Seems like a great way to undermine all their rivals.

    Those who lead as a tyrant or a dictator never follow the same rules and laws they force on others.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:28am

    Hurt the good guys, help the bad guys

    The argument often made in favor of privately-held weapons (which, like it or not, has an element of truth) applies even more strongly in this case.

    Criminals and terrorists don't obey the law. That's why they're criminals.

    If you mandate backdoors or weaken encryption, all you accomplish is to weaken the defenses of the law-abiding, while leaving the bad guys with strong encryption.

    You make the situation worse rather than better.

    (Worse for civil society, that is. If you're law enforcement, you might care more about "making busts" than you do about protecting citizens. If so, I suppose backdoors look good to you.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    FichenDich (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 10:32am

    I Beg to Differ

    "So none of this adds up, other than as a stupid reactionary move out of fear and ignorance."


    No, it's theater. It is the same as shoe removal to get through security to board an airplane. It is to give the appearance of actually doing something for the common good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hydro Forge, 13 Aug 2016 @ 11:04am

    Humans

    Everyone that can encrypt should encrypt everything they can always.

    Privacy is not a privilege. Stand guard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2016 @ 12:27pm

    Stupid is as stupid does

    Messaging encryption, widely used by governments to plan attacks and protect secrets, needs to be fought at international level, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him promote a global initiative.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lesath, 13 Aug 2016 @ 7:00pm

      Re: Stupid is as stupid does

      French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Thursday, and he wants Germany to help him

      Reminds me of the time the French welcomed the German Nazi's with welcome arms. Of course, both France and Germany would like for everyone to forget about that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 1:10pm

    Maginot line

    That "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes," is credited to Mark Twain.

    The same type of thinking that lead to the horrific disaster of the Maginot line, can certainly be credited with this current idiocy on the part of the French government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Aug 2016 @ 5:03pm

    I suspect French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve represents the opinion of France...

    ...about as much as Obama (or Clinton, or Trump) represents the opinion of the US.

    Cazeneuve wants backdoored encryption because he's in a bourgeois position. And he probably wants it for the proletariat only, not his fellow elites.

    As he's French, he should be aware of Napoleonic Law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2016 @ 11:44pm

    for all those not educated in how a government needs to stay in power and survive... govt's do not care about the odd terrorist attack or the loss of life. they fear the people being able to understand and revolt against the system. do you really think that the govt's are emotionally shattered over a few dozen terrorist related deaths when at the same time they do nothing about the hundreds of deaths that occur by gang violence or drug wars or any number of other scourges that occur on a daily basis? they want to watch YOU for fear of an uprising against them. these terror attacks are their excuse -- their ticket -- towards securing their power.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Two Cents, 14 Aug 2016 @ 3:47am

    Human Rights Inventors ?

    Those socialist freemassons are restlest when it comes to theyr secrecy vs. our privacy.

    Shame on you IMPOSTOR

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 4:00am

    And that right after we saw at least two major companies screwing up with backdoors (Micro$oft and VW). Seems the guy is impervious to reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      "This time, this time it'll work!

      ... and if it doesn't it's not like my personal data is on the line, as a government employee I will of course continue to be able to use secure protections for my data, as is only right."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 7:15am

    it seems to me that France has forgotten what happened 75years ago and how finding out everything about everyone caused the deaths of so many people, not just in France but world wide. but then i dont suppose the idiot who wants to bring this into being was anywhere in sight during WWII!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Monday (profile), 15 Aug 2016 @ 11:10am

      Re: Socialist Begginings - Hidden Future

      It is a bit of a stretch, reaching an analogous conclusion, but it works at a deep level.

      I'll answer a couple of other posts while I'm getting to you. Both Companies have seemed to have melted into the Sofa; VW has never been ostracized let alone punished for their offenses - sneaky Germans right? :D Micro$oft has absolutely tefloned themselves past the 900 million Android fiasco. Unless, unless you actually make a concerted effort to find the news on this, nobody is talking about - is going to talk about it.

      What would happen to any one private individual - I am hypothesizing as Companies and Corporations are viewed as People, don't forget - if they brought a Virus to light, from the climes of some deep, dark African or South American jungle, and it was one hundred percent lethal, and was going to kill millions - Volkswagen - or a billion people - Micro$oft - Do we honestly think that this wouldn't be front page news for the rest of our natural lives? That is what a backdoor to encryption is. It is a virus with one hundred percent lethality, and it cannot be stopped, or cured with an apology. Much like Nature in its own way with every "backdoor" to the Human Immune System - Nature, that Company, is untouchable, and unapologetic.

      The French Revolution was a battle for Freedom, Liberty, Equality, and Property - it was a very bloody end to a regime that didn't "[make] them eat cake", but preferred to have them labour in conditions that were so inhospitable and alien, a human body could not exist - physically, let alone mentally, in Grotesque (I use the Italian noun form). They demanded rights...

      We have our rights! Let us all use them. BUT, and this I definitely have no answer for, how does anyone or anything get a billion people united?

      If M$ Windows had a backdoor that could be exploited where it absolutely made one billion computers dead, would that get our intentions and inclinations on the right path? What is the right path? I started University thirsty and hungry for knowledge, I graduated - I owed a hundred grand... there was no Google and Wikipedia, I expected to be constantly tested, nevertheless prepared , for whatever was thrown at me.

      How does someone WIN, and ever have to be argued with again over encryption?

      Memories are not what they used to be. They are days long, as compared to the decades that used to exist. Hiroshima and Nagasaki have just passed us. I did what I could to remind people of those two horror shows - experiments with a new concept of industrialized death - Wikipedia the whole process that led to the creation of atomic weapons, but nobody remembered. I was re-tweeted a dozen times - not the thousands of outraged voices that should have been singing. People just don't remember, or they just don't care - that is what makes a Trump Presidency so scary. Trump's a backdoor to a world of hurt - FOR EVERY ONE LIVING... it's as simple as that.

      A Politician wants backdoors, for information gathering purposes, don't wash this any other way, and VW and M$ are prime examples of what happens with any backdoor, exploited on an industrialized level.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gilbert, 16 Aug 2016 @ 4:34am

    Dont be fooled. France, while being under control of a socialist country, what it really is, is a fascist country.

    A country where some muslims are causing trouble (a minority though, most muslims go as quietly as christians here) and because of political-correctness, they are immune from anything.

    Here is an example : a man did pee on a Coran : got thrown to jail. A guy puts a catholic bible in a jar of urine : it's called art.

    Our government is a government of morons without balls. They will put to their knees and suck whatever comes in front of their mouth to stay in power.

    No balls, no honor. The same assholes we did have in the 1930's and everyone knows how it ended against the war-mongering Germany at that time.

    France will be, with Belgium, one of the first countries to fall and become like Lebanon.

    Trump is right when he says France is no longer France.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2016 @ 5:24pm

    I want the French government to go fuck themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ThomasMueller, 24 Aug 2016 @ 10:19am

    dumb people are going to be dumb

    forbidding encryption would be suicide for the europe tech industry as well as to online banking as well as every other onlien task

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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