back to article Europol now latest cops to beg Big Tech to ditch E2EE

Yet another international cop shop has come out swinging against end-to-end encryption - this time it's Europol which is urging an end to implementation of the tech for fear police investigations will be hampered by protected DMs. In a joint declaration of European police chiefs published over the weekend, Europol said it …

  1. Catkin Silver badge

    With power comes responsibility

    Will the same authorities take responsibility when their snooping keys are abused by stalkers within their own agency or used by foreign oppressive governments to undermine national security or target minority groups?

    This isn't speculation, it's already happened in other agencies and yet they now want even more powerful toys?

    Might I modestly propose that all members of any agency proposing ending E2EE be required to use a backdoored system for all of their communications, both operational and personal for a period of at least 5 years to show how complete their faith is in the system and demonstrate that it can be effectively secured against malicious use? If it all works out, then we can consider rolling it out to the general public. Also, any member of the agency, no matter how senior caught using a properly secured communications system during this time would face immediate imprisonment as a presumed criminal.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: they don't need "stalkers"

      "The declaration urges the tech industry not to see user privacy as a binary choice, but rather as something that can be assured without depriving law enforcement of access to private communications. "

      We're not worried about "stalkers". We KNOW, from historical prescient, that the rozzer is MORE that capable of ignoring due process and legal requirements to illegally access data when it damn well suits them. They'll ignore the requirements of obtaining warrants, seeking them *after* the dirty deed in order to appear pure and innocent, or simply "judge shop" their way into a sympathetic court so as to get a rubber stamp of approval.

      We know the game. And we're not stupid enough to continuously fall for it. So the answer is, "No. And you did this to yourselves".

      1. Casca Silver badge

        Re: they don't need "stalkers"

        The royal "We"...

    2. stiine Silver badge

      Re: With power comes responsibility


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the little pigs scream

    Let the little pigs scream "Wee! Wee! Wee!" all the way home.

    No, we're not surprised by yet another pig pen wanting access to our data. They can leave empty handed just like all the rest. The oinkers have been trying this since the '90s.

  3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Even though I don't use the specific applications they're targeting I take serious umbrage at the default assumption that simply being online means I'm presumed guilty of something.

    Perhaps somebody should tell them about

    1. cosmodrome

      No, it's the fact that you exist that makes you guilty. Noone is innocent. Shut up, we are asking the questions, here.

  4. perkele

    Presumably the same pinpoint following of laws such as, oh I don't know, the Feds use of FISA warrant procedure. Ha ha ha..

  5. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    "Beyond the Reach of Law Enforcement"

    The American West was called "the Wild West" for a reason!

    Similarly, I don't think there was much effective law enforcement in Australia during the time the Crown was having certain classes of convicts sentenced "to Transportation".

    And Canada, during its Gold Rush days, had a dearth of effective law enforcement.

    The Internet is the New (Wild) West, and lots of us are okay with that. "Caveat Emptor", ya know?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assumptions!! You May Have Heard Of Them

    Why does this drumbeat about E2EE always ASSUME that the only encryption which needs a backdoor is supplied by huge wealthy interweb service providers??


    Do the people wanting backdoors not know that groups of individuals are perfectly capable of implementing private encryption within the group?

    ....especially if the group has a) money and b) a significant taste for privacy


    A private encryption scheme can be used in various ways:

    (1) Using normal email (you know, gmail, hotmail, yahoo.......)

    (2) Using services like SIgnal (so that when the Signal E2EE is broken.....all the snoops will find is......MORE ENCRYPTION!!!)

    (3) ....and that's before users deploy anonymising tools to hide both identities and end points.......

    So.......more useless noise from lawmakers and police organisations.....because those who CAN protect their privacy will do so......

    .....without help from Meta, Signal, Telegraph, Apple or anyone else!!!!!


    (i) Applied Cryptography, Bruce Schneier

    (ii) Cryptography Engineering, Ferguson, Schneier, Kohno

    (iii) samba20, chacha20, Daniel Bernstein

    (iv) Curve25519, Daniel Bernstein

    (v) Diffie/Hellman (endless sources on the interweb, used because it ABSOLUTELY eliminates published encryption keys anywhere)


  7. cornetman Silver badge

    > "Our societies have not previously tolerated spaces that are beyond the reach of law enforcement, where criminals can communicate safely and child abuse can flourish,"

    So private homes weren't a thing before the modern age? WTF? And even in the case where there was reasonable suspicion that something untoward was going on, authorities needed warrants to enter or spy on them.

    I get it, modern communications provide a lot more opportunity to reach more people and further. However, I don't know how they are going to outright ban E2E comms. They might make it difficult to use large public services that way, but anyone can set up something private without the convenience of Signal or Whatsapp or the like. The "problem" is not these services, it is the tech, and that is not going away.

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "it needs lawful access to private messages"

    No problem.

    Get a warrant.

    You don't have one ? Go fuck yourself.

    You do not need backdoored encryption. You need to follow the example of lawful authorities who have managed stellar successes by doing their fucking job.

  9. Tron Silver badge

    Every cloud has a silver lining.

    With no E2EE, hackers can access politicians e-mails and messages more easily and securely store them. So next time, when a PM has mislaid his phone, deleted his messages or forgotten his password, public-spirited hackers can hand over copies of their stash to the authorities and the media. Good news for forgetful politicians. Crowd sourced archiving promoting transparency in government.

    * They could of course have rebuilt Boris's messaging from senders and recipients, but perhaps they were too busy for that. Government is very complicated, after all.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Every cloud has a silver lining.

      "With no E2EE, hackers can access politicians e-mails and messages more easily"

      It's not necessary when one of the group does something like handing all the messages to some journalist to ghost-write his autobiography. Politicians blab sooner or later. For them keeping a message secure is just a means of choosing the best time to reveal it. Perhaps that's why they don't understand what the fuss is about.

    2. Julz

      Re: Every cloud has a silver lining.

      Or just ask GCHQ for a copy...

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Where child abuse can flourish?

      Well, there was that time members of the British establishment bussed kids from orphanages all over the kingdom, to be molested at Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square.

      Was that a different time to the one imagined by the fantasists like Carl Beech and Chris Fay?

      There's enough confirmed child abuse, both inside and outside of institutions (Kincora, Savile, Kidwelly, Caldey Abbey, Notts Care Homes) that we didn't need to imagine stuff up.

      But I know people love a salacious conspiracy theory about elites.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. stiine Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I'm sure they haven't required anything nefarious in the baseband chips in our phones either.

  12. cybergrcgb

    El Reg still on the side of the people traffickers

    Another day, another Register article ridiculing law enforcement on the side of the terrorists and the child abusers. If the tech industry is so damn smart in it's opposition to E2EE, where's it's counter proposal to fight the worse people on the planet? Nowhere, which just goes to show it's all about profit and has sod all to do with individual liberty.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg still on the side of the people traffickers


      Quote: "...the side of the terrorists..."

      Huh????? So....there are "sides" here???

      What about MY SIDE?? I'd like some privacy to go about my daily (ordinary, legal) business without GCHQ or the police or the NSA reading the contents of my life.

      There's a post here by an AC about "Assumptions" should read it.

      Private encryption schemes are still legal, and I for one intend to make the job of snooping on my life AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE!!!

      That's MY SIDE. What is yours?

      1. cybergrcgb

        Re: El Reg still on the side of the people traffickers

        I'm on the side of law enforcement. I don't care if some government algorithm or spook looks through my sock drawer if it is part of a general sweep to protect us all. I appreciate that in this age of easy anonymity and global movement that it has become a necessity. It's not a breach of my rights, it's another piece of infrastructure that allows civilised life to proceed, like motorways and schooling.

  13. Spazturtle Silver badge

    Remember digital cameras?

    Back when digital cameras were new law enforcement and politicians were terrified of them and wanted to ban them because it meant people could take photos and process them at home cutting out the watchful eye of the guy in the photo shop.

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Remember digital cameras?

      Back when digital cameras were new law enforcement and politicians were terrified of them and wanted to ban them because it meant people could take photos and process them at home cutting out the watchful eye of the guy in the photo shop.

      Which of course was nonsense, because it was never that hard to get into home development. Chemistry wasn't that expensive.

      But it was a bit like the modern response to anyone taking photos using a "professional" camera/tripod - oooh, what are you doing? Are they doing recon for a terror attack? Nobody bats an eyelid at the shady person avoiding notice but waving a phone around recording the locations of exits, cameras, etc.

      Absolutely incompetent risk assessment.

  14. nijam Silver badge

    OK, let's just turn off privacy for Europol staff ... see how they (and their familes, frainds, etc.) like it.


  15. BPontius

    Untrustworthy and Flawed methodology

    Yeah I'm sure if they get backdoors it will only be used for finding law breakers. Just like the FISA database has only been used for terrorism, just like warrantless spying and hacking lead to the FBI helping themselves to drivers license information and photos, or maybe like the numerous NSA employees caught spying on ex-wives and girlfriends, the IRS using FISA to target political protester and activists. It would inevitably lead to corporations being shared the backdoor to help spy for the Government and the abuses that would lead too. Government, Law Enforcement and Corporations have proven repeatedly they cannot be trusted.

    Sure they backdoor all the major forms of encryption to find criminals, then the criminals move to one-time pads and less public forms of communication. It wasn't Internet chat or radio traffic that found Bin Laden, it was an eyes on informant. It wasn't FISA or Government spying that caught the Boston Marathon bombers, it was cell phone pictures and video from the public and company surveillance. Even many of the 9/11 terrorists were known to NSA and FBI and on watch list(s), but it failed to stop them mainly because the law forbid the FBI and NSA to communicate even within their organization. The Governments collect everything mentality violates the very foundation of investigating methodology, finding and keeping only the information that furthers the investigation. All extra and unneeded information is discarded. The Government collecting vast quantities of information, then searching through it without any clear crime, person or information they required to even identify the crime they are searching for.

  16. steviebuk Silver badge


    "We need an end to end-to-end encryption or we need a back door that will only be used for good". It won't. But also, you force backdoors into apps, do you really think those crooks will use those apps? No, they'll hire someone to write their own end-to-end encryption and put it in their own app.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like