IT companies warn in open letter: EU wants to ban encryption

Together with the companies Tutanota, Boxcryptor, Cryptomator,, Mailfence, Praxonomy, and Tresorit, has written an open letter to the EU strongly criticizing upcoming plans for communication surveillance.

A future without privacy?

In the fight against child pornography, the EU Council of Ministers endorsed the proposal to repeal the E-Privacy directive with a transitional regulation in late 2020. Before that, in July, the EU Commission had declared encryption to be the main obstacle in the fight against child molesters. More recently, in December, the EU Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs also voted to restrict data protection in favour of law enforcement.

Only end-to-end encryption is able to guarantee confidential communication and both privacy and secrecy of correspondence between users. But in the fight against child pornography, domestic politicians and legislators have identified it as the core problem and would prefer to ban it.

European values under attack

According to the signatories of the open letter, any obligation to screen all private chat messages contradicts European principles of data protection. The authors are convinced: Allowing access to encrypted communication by private organizations and public authorities is incompatible with a strong EU as a technology location, It would enormously damage European ideals and the indisputable foundations of our democracy, namely freedom of expression and the protection of privacy. CEO Peer Heinlein comments: “Nobody wants to limit the prosecution of child pornography. But the perpetrators in these circles know how to evade and digitally protect themselves. The current legislative initiatives will not bring about any change here.

Instead, the restriction of encrypted communication causes great harm to society and is a profound encroachment on the fundamental rights of freedom of thought and expression of all citizens. The protection of secure communication must not be sacrificed here, no: It is under attack and must be protected and expanded.”


Author: Markus Feilner