EU wants to ban encryption backdoors to protect your data from governments and the law
A group of European members of Parliament has proposed new legislation that would require end-to-end encryption be used across all digital communications.
The Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs put forward the plans as part of a bid to ensure messages sent between people cannot be hacked by governments or other malicious groups. The proposals are in opposition to those put forward by the UK government.
Under the EU suggestions, providers of "electronic communications services," which would include social networks as well as messaging companies, would have to "ensure" there is protection "against unauthorised access or alterations" to sent messages.
"The confidentiality and safety of the transmission are also guaranteed by the nature of the means of transmission used or by state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption of the electronic communications data," the legislation says.
The Parliament document goes further by saying backdoors to access the content of messages should not be created. "When encryption of electronic communications data is used, decryption, reverse engineering or monitoring of such communications shall be prohibited.
"Member States shall not impose any obligations on electronic communications service providers that would result in the weakening of the security and encryption of their networks and services".
The plans from the Parliament group are attempting to amend Article Seven of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. For the draft to become law it would need to be voted on and approved by the European Parliament and the European Council.
If passed, the law would build on the number of platforms which have adopted end-to-end encryption in recent years. WhatsApp uses the encryption form by default, Facebook and Google's own messaging platforms use end-to-end encryption in certain circumstances, plus both Signal and Telegram encrypt all user messages.
The EU Parliament's suggestions come at a time when politicians in the UK are attempting to crackdown on the use of encrypted communications by extremists. In the wake of four terrorist attacks on London and Manchester, prime minister Theresa May has proposed regulating the internet and creating laws to stop terrorists having a "safe space" online.
Home secretary Amber Rudd has also said she will ask technology companies "to make sure they do more" to remove material and that they will be expected to help "limit the amount of end-to-end encryption".