Tech

EU Commission: Officials should use signal

EU Commission staff should use the messenger signal. The online magazine Politico quotes from an internal notification to the official staff, accordingly "Signal selected as the recommended application for public instant messaging applications". After data breaches and espionage, the EU Commission wants to better protect diplomatic information. This also means that Commission officials are obliged to only transmit sensitive information that has not been classified by encrypted email, Politico quotes an official. Signal is particularly recommended for communication between government employees and people outside the institution.

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However, Signal cannot be used for communication with employees of the EU Parliament: The IT department of the European Parliament has prohibited members of the EU Parliament from installing the messenger desktop app and instead refers to Whatsapp. The end-to-end encryption developed by Signal is also used there, but unlike Signal, Whatsapp is not open source, so the source code cannot be checked. Unlike Signal, Whatsapp also shares the metadata with its parent company Facebook instead of reducing it.

Meanwhile, a committee secretariat in the European Parliament set up a Whatsapp group for members of a delegation of MPs, tweeted the political adviser to the Greens / EFA group in the European Parliament, Ralf Bendrath. The delegation is due to travel to Washington shortly. In Germany, too, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is still looking for a messenger for the federal authorities.

Security politicians and law enforcement officials are calling for back doors

The EU Commission's recommendation to use a secure messenger with end-to-end encryption also shows the importance of strong encryption that cannot be cracked for espionage purposes. Law enforcement and security officials from the US and the EU keep calling for end-to-end encryption through back doors to be abolished. For example, US Attorney General William Barr believes encryption "dangerous and unacceptable"if law enforcement agencies could not circumvent them.

In May, plans were announced by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) to force Messenger to a listening interface. Messenger who do not implement these should be blocked according to the plans. However, demands overlook the fact that weakening encryption leads to less security, for example, diplomatic information from the EU Commission.

The civil rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) criticizes the argument of the state authorities that encryption means that they no longer have access to information. Rather, the investigators lived in a golden age of surveillance: even without direct access to content, people could be monitored using cell phone metadata or location data.

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