France mulls tighter noose around crypto

Gendarmes seek powers to decrypt tout le monde


France's state of emergency could lead to blocks on encrypted Internet connections and a ban on public Wi-Fi networks, if proposals put to the government go ahead.

According to Le Monde, the (in French) extension of the state of emergency could also stretch to requiring all rental cars to carry GPS, expansion of public video surveillance, two-year telecommunications data retention, and approval for police to use IMSI-catchers (like the Stingray devices used in America).

French news site Numerama.com adds that the matters under debate also include forced provision of messaging encryption keys.

Numerama explains (in French) that in a paywalled article, Le Monde quoted from an internal Department of Civil Liberties and Legal Affairs document prepared last week.

The laws could be up for consideration as soon as January, Numerama says.

Some of the proposals, however, seem nebulous to the point of impossibility: the proposals stretch beyond shutting off the Wi-Fi at Parisian cafes to banning “shared connections” with criminal sanctions as enforcement.

Just what kind of connection sharing the gendarmerie has in mind isn't stipulated, but it's a fair bet that unplugging every shared connection in the country would incidentally bring the operation of government to a halt.

The rationale is that police want to tie a specific user's identifier to an individual IP address.

The proposals also indicate a desire to snoop on VoIP conversations, again with encryption keys to be given to the police. ®


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