Mozilla Urges Germany to Back Off On Their Proposed War on Encryption

FireFox maker Mozilla has penned an open letter to the government of Germany. They want them to re-think their war on encryption.

The war on encryption and security has been ramping up in recent months. In all, to our knowledge, three countries have effectively entered the picture as countries who want to crack down on security. They efforts were seemingly spearheaded by Australia who passed anti-encryption laws last year in a hasty and rushed process. While it looked like Australia would be the only country crazy enough to crack down on security, this year, Australia wouldn’t be the only one.

Earlier this month, Germany joined the war on encryption by openly mulling steps to crack down on security. Later on, we learned of pushback from civilized society for the UKs version of the war on encryption through the so-called “Ghost Protocol”.

While civil society has been vocal on Australia and UK about their war on encryption, we weren’t certain if they knew about Germany following suit. That was the case until today. According to The Daily Swig, Mozilla, maker of Firefox, penned an open letter condemning Germany’s idea of targeting encryption. From the report:

Mozilla has joined over a hundred digital rights organizations in calling for Germany to reel in its alleged plans to clamp down on end-to-end (E2E) encryption.

In an open letter published this week, Mozilla warned that government talk of providing authorities with backdoor access to secure messaging apps should be barred from Germany and the wider European landscape.

“The BMI (Federal Ministry of the Interior) proposal counteracts 20 years of successful crypto policy in Germany,” a translated version of the letter reads.

“In the cornerstones of German crypto politics in 1999, the then federal government agreed on a principle that became known under the maxim ‘security through encryption and security despite encryption’.

“Since then, this principle has been repeatedly confirmed by the subsequent federal governments.”

The letter described how Germany’s commitment to be the “number one location in the world for encryption” faced complete dissolution following comments made last month by interior minister Horst Seehofer.

According to numerous reports in the German press, the minister had called for secure messaging providers such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Threema to be required by court order to hand over plaintext versions of encrypted communication to law enforcement – or face a country-wide ban.

Mozilla has really stepped up their game of fighting for security in the last year or so. In addition to fighting against Australia’s anti-encryption law and teaming up with ProtonVPN to provide VPN service, they also launch an initiative to bring another level of security to web browsing. Known as DoH (DNS over HTTPS) encryption, the initiative has since been blasted by spy agencies as being too secure.

One thing is for sure, it is comforting that there are others who take issue with the war on encryption. In an era where data breaches happen on such a regular basis, weakening security always struck us as the last thing governments should be engaging in at this point in time.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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