A Belgian law wants to impose legal wiretapping of the Internet

Dear Internet friends,

Our chapter is very concerned about a new law requiring operators to provide full access to information passing through the Internet: identity, metadata, geolocation, and full content, upon request by authorities and within 24 hours. Concretely, it means lowering encryption, creating backdoors, and as always a backdoor can be used for another purpose and by other people than initialy planned.

David Frautschy addressed a brillant call in a newspaper today (link), but answer from our Minister is that “Classic telecom operators have been obliged to allow taps for years. The same principle should apply to other communication services. We realise that we are leading the way in Europe on this, but we want to create clarity.

They do not look to understand the nature of Internet, which is a public medium like radio communications, not a closed proprietary service like the post office or a traditional telephone operator. The only way to publicly exchange private content on radio or the Internet is through strong encryption.

Together with Global Encryption Coalition a letter has been signed by 48 organisations, but even if we’ll reach 4800 signatures, that’s not sufficient : we need to pass the message to end-users communities. Tomorrow only criminals would be allowed to use strong encryption – this law will not stop ransomware! – and private life and data of citizens and businesses would be exposed to those criminals. The Belgian case, if voted next week, would rapidly spread in whole Europe.

Today we need a more secure Internet, and the government is working to reduce security.

If you have key contacts that could help to tackle this issue, and/or create awareness in end-users communities, or to draw a cartoon (draft idea), this would help.

Protect our Digital Lives #podl

Frederic Taes
ISOC.be President

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