European Authorities Are Evaluating Encryption Issues Following Brussels Attack

By Staff Reporter

Mar 28, 2016 10:22 AM EDT

European authorities are pushing the issue of encryption in the wake of the Brussel attack last week. That would affect tech companies especially American tech giants as they would be required to hand over encrypted information to law enforcements. 

According to The New York Times, French lawmakers are expected to debate proposals to toughen laws regarding data encryption this week. They are pushing a policy that would give intelligence services greater power to get access to personal information from encrypted data. Refusing to give encrypted information could lead to prison sentences of up to five years for tech executives as well as fine of around $390,000 for the company.

The similar move could also be seen in Britain, where lawmakers are finishing legislation that could force tech companies to provide assistance in bypassing encryption protections if required by national security. Under that legislation, companies would be legally demanded to hack their users' smartphones and computers.

However, not all European countries stand on the same side regarding the matter of data encryption. As for now, Germany and the Netherlands are dismissing the similar encryption laws that could force tech companies to hand over personal information that could enshrine privacy and violate other rights as the freedom of expression, as said by those who oppose the idea.

In the U.S., tech giant Apple is still in a dispute with the government over the similar issue. The company was demanded by the court to create a backdoor to bypass its own encryption in order to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino attack shooters. Apple has since been fighting back, declining the order, arguing that by doing so the company would put its other users into a greater danger.

Apple has also made a move as the company try to fight back regarding the encryption data issue. The Times of India reported that Apple's CEO Tim Cook has met with a string of European politicians to lobby in favor of the encryption technology. Tim Cook has met with France's prime minister Manuel Valls and Britain's home secretary Theresa May.

Also in the U.S., Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has also addressed the Brussels attack as the "latest brutal reminder" that more must be done to defeat such threats. As reported by Reuters, she called for closer cooperation between the U.S. and European countries to address the issue.

European countries are now evaluating the encryption technology issues in regard to national security, in the wake of the Paris and the more recent Brussels attack. France and Britain are among countries that are pushing new laws to give authorities for the officials to get encrypted data from tech companies. 

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