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Germany's Interior Minister Horst Seehofer purportedly wants to force messaging providers such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and Threema to provide plain text chats to law enforcement agencies on a court order as reported by Der Spiegel and from a number of other German news outlets. This means that the leader of the Christian Social Union (CDU) basically wants to ban messaging end-to-end encryption since for keeping cleartext logs of encrypted chats the apps would either have to be injected with some sort of backdoor or the encryption removed altogether. Seehofer is also known for his "zero tolerance" policy toward criminals and for calling for "video surveillance at every hot spot in the country" according to Deutsche Welle. "Messenger services such as WhatsApp or Telegram should be obliged to record the communications of their customers and to send them to authorities - in a readable form, ie unencrypted," as Der Spiegel reports [automated translation]. Also, "providers who do not fulfill this obligation should be banned by order of the Federal Network Agency for Germany" with the new rules to be enacted by the end of the year. The proposal also says that the freedom to use messaging encryption has to be "reconciled with the unavoidable needs of security agencies" to have access to communications when mandated by a court. According to the German Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community proposal, messaging apps can use encrypted communication by default but they would also have to ensure "state-of-the-art access to the contents of communication as a legally regulated exemption for their users". Further details are posted on OUR FORUM.

 

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