Encryption has always been a hot topic in the world of technology and innovation. Not only does encryption allow both consumers and businesses to keep data safe from prying eyes, but it has also been a thorn in the side of governments around the world. The French government is not a fan of backdoors to break encryption, whereas a recent New York Bill aims to disable encryption on smartphones.
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France is Not in Favor of Mandatory Encryption Backdoors
Finding two governments in the world who see eye to eye on very important decisions will not be an easy task, although the topic of encryption is a different creature in that regard. In fact, at its core, it comes down to being part of two camps: those in favor of encryption, and those who want to break it at all costs for government purposes.
The French government has publicly stated they are not in favor of mandatory backdoors on a software or hardware level to bypass encryption. There are certain individuals who want to weaken encryption protection to access sensitive information, such as consumer details, GPS coordinates, and who knows what else. At the same time, no one is officially stating why they would like to obtain this information in the first place.
In fact, one member of the French political right wing had drafted a bill to enforce backdoors on both software and hardware levels in an attempt to weaken encryption protocols. However, Secretary of State For The Digital Economy Axelle Lemaire put a halt to this bill passing, as the proposed guidelines were not in accordance with the original intent of the French constitution.
Furthermore, Lemaire went on by saying how “vulnerabilities by design” are not the right way forward and vastly inappropriate. To make sure consumers and businesses can safeguard their data at all times, the plan is to stimulate encryption efforts shortly. After all, weak encryption is not doing anyone any favors and makes data even more vulnerable than before.
This is not the first time the French government reinforces its negative stance towards encryption backdoors. The French Prime Minister refuted the idea of banning access to public Wi-Fi hotspots and accessing Tor in the past, as these solutions would hinder the freedom of speech of citizens.
NY Assemblyman Wants to Disable Strong Encryption
While the statement by the French government should be applauded by people all over the world, things are taking a turn for the worse in the state of New York. A new bill has been proposed to disable strong encryption on every single smartphone sold in the entire state.
But that is not the only restriction proposed in this new bill, as things will be even more dire if this bill ever manages to pass. All manufacturers and operating system providers will be able to decrypt all smartphones produced on or after January 1, 2016. However, companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft will — most likely — do everything they can to ensure this bill never makes it that far.
Technological Innovation is Not Welcome in NY State
The introduction of this bill is not the first time the state of New York has shown its dark side towards innovation and technology. Not too long ago, the BitLicense regulatory framework was introduced, forcing Bitcoin companies to obtain a specific license if they wanted to continue their operations in the area.
Furthermore, the companies applying for this license would have to give up consumer data to local officials if they requested that information. A lot of Bitcoin companies did not agree with these guidelines and decided to stop offering their services to residents in the New York area altogether.
By the look of things, policymakers in New York state are very keen on harvesting consumer data for unknown purposes. Whether that is through the companies offering financial services to residents, or smartphone manufacturers selling devices, consumer data must be obtained at all costs.
What are your thought on the different stances by the French government and New York officials? Will there ever be a global consensus when it comes to encryption? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Ars Technica / Tweakers
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