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European Pirates call on Citizens to object Plans of EU-Governments to Access Encrypted Communications

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On Monday, the Austrian National Service Broadcaster (ORF) published a secret draft of a planned Council resolution seeking to undermine encryption. According to the resolution, messaging services such as Whatsapp are to allow governments to decrypt and intercept secure online communications. The European Pirates call on the responsibility of the representatives of the public services to uphold and protect the fundamental right to privacy as well as the security of our digital communications infrastructure.

The proposal stands in line with regular attacks by governments on the secure encryption of content, made under the guise of the fight against organized crime and terrorism. Patrick Breyer, Member of the European Parliament of the German Pirates explains:

“Contrary to what governments would have us believe, we have to choose between interception and security. Those who want to sacrifice secure encryption in order to enable eavesdropping will destroy the protection of private secrets, business secrets and state secrets, and open the door to mass-spying by foreign intelligence services as well as hacker attacks.”

“There is no such thing as a ‘partial backdoor’ to online communications. The security of all our communications must be given priority. This has been the clear position of the European Parliament since 2017, and it is also the biggest priority of the Pirates,” says Marcel Kolaja, Pirate and Vice-President of the European Parliament. 

 “It is technically impossible to grant access to securely encrypted communications solely for ‘lawful’ purposes. As soon as messaging services allow for the decryption of private communications, for instance by implementing backdoors or providing master keys, the security of communications is broken once and for all – not only for the ‘legitimate’ purposes envisioned by the national governments,” adds Mikuláš Peksa, Member of the European Parliament of the Czech Pirates and chairperson of European Pirate Party. 

“Contrary to what is argued by the Presidency, there is no middle-way between upholding the ‘fundamental rights and the digital security of governments, industry and society’ and the breaking of secure end-to-end encryption. Therefore, we demand strict rejection of the proposal by the national government’s representatives. We ask European citizens to help us now and contact their governments immediately,” stresses Markéta Gregorová, Czech Pirate MEP. 

Anyone wishing to appeal against the draft Council decision can do so until 24 November to the permanent representations of the EU member states.

To help with the wording, some sample letters and the contact details of the Permanent Representations of the Member States in the EU are given below. These can be used as templates that only require signatures at the end of the document.

If the relevant national language is not listed, the English version of the letter is available here.

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