(credit: Rainer Ebert)

The Dutch government has released a statement in which it says that “it is currently not desirable to take restricting legal measures concerning the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.” It also notes that forcing companies to add backdoors to their products and services would have “undesirable consequences for the security of communicated and stored information,” since “digital systems can become vulnerable to criminals, terrorists and foreign intelligence services.”
The Dutch government’s declaration, translated by Matthijs R. Koot, looks at both sides of encryption—the benefits it provides by allowing sensitive information to be protected, and the issues it raises for the police and security services. It recognises that crypto “enables everyone to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of communication, and defend against, for instance, espionage and cyber crime. Fundamental rights and freedoms as well as security interests and economic interests benefit from this.”

But it also acknowledges that the use of encryption by criminals “complicates, delays, or makes it impossible to gain (timely) insight in communication for the purpose of protecting national security and the purpose of prosecuting criminal offenses. Furthermore, court hearings and the providing of evidence in court for a conviction can be severely hindered.”
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