Debate over banning encryption: TeleTrusT - IT Security Association Germany urges level-handed approach

Berlin, 2015, November 23rd: The current attacks in Paris have reignited the debate over how far encrypted communication, which is not accessible for intelligence agencies, can benefit terrorists. Therefore, a ban on the use of encryption should be taken into consideration. The IT Security Association Germany (TeleTrusT) calls for good sense.

According to numerous reports in the media, the Paris attackers were able to communicate with each other and plan a coordinated assault without being detected by security services. The fact that the attackers have unnoticeably communicated with each other seems to be obvious. Terrorists must have been long aware that electronic communication can be intercepted.

The Chairman of TeleTrusT, Prof. Norbert Pohlmann, warns against a political instrumentalization of terrorist threat. Technically, banning encryption would impose negative effects on our economy and the freedom of German citizens. The efficient protection of company and business secrets would be nullified and this way, an encryption ban would provide gateways for economic espionage.  

The protection of citizens against spying is a personal right, and the protection of our economy is highly important for our modern society. This must not be put at stake.

Banning encryption is not expedient since it will always be technically possible to encrypt undetected data. Terrorists would keep on encrypting their messages despite the ban whereas enterprises and citizens, who wish to protect themselves against criminals, would face the risks of the Internet. Thus, not only the use of encryption should be granted further on, but rather be more strongly encouraged, in order to protect our citizens and economy much better on the unsafe Internet.