Dutch will not force "backdoors" on businesses; no limits to encryption

Data theft
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The Dutch cabinet has no plans to force businesses to build in “backdoors” for investigative agencies to snoop on data, Security and Justice Minister Ard van der Steur told parliament on Monday. The ruling coalition sees the privacy and security provided by encryption methods as being more important than making it easier for authorities to access information.

Van der Steur noted that more businesses and individuals are making use of encryption. “That is important for the confidence people have in digital products and services, and for the Dutch economy from the perspective of the fast developing digital society,” the minister said in a letter.

Simultaneously, he said that encryption often hinders investigations, particularly into child pornography, cyber attacks, support of foreign military operations and terrorism. “[Encryption] makes it difficult, slow or impossible to gain timely insight into communications for the purpose of safeguarding national security and the investigation into criminal offenses,” he stated.

“The above-mentioned legitimate access to data and communications through investigation, intelligence and security services, however, constitutes an infringement on the confidential communications of citizens.”

The minister also said that forcing firms to install a backdoor creates an opening for criminals and terrorists to access data that can then be used in an illicit act.