French government rejects crypto backdoors as “the wrong solution”

[h3]French government rejects crypto backdoors as “the wrong solution”[/h3]

French government rejects crypto backdoors as “the wrong solution”

Speaking on behalf of the French government, the deputy minister for digital affairs Axelle Lemaire has rejected an amendment to the new “Law for the Digital Republic,” which called for computer companies to provide backdoors to encrypted systems. As reported by the French site Numerama, Lemaire said of the idea: “What you propose is vulnerability by design. It’s inappropriate.” She also referred to the Netherlands’ recent statement in support of encryption, and the discovery of backdoors in Juniper’s products, as reasons not to take that route.

She pointed out that with backdoors “personal data is no longer completely protected. Even if the intention [of giving the authorities access] is praiseworthy, it opens the door to actors with less praiseworthy intentions, to say nothing of the possible economic harm that loss of credibility will cause companies that implement these flaws.” She concluded: “You are right to add to the debate, but in the government’s view, it’s the wrong solution.”

She is also one of the ministers responsible for the establishment of French tech hubs in a number of cities around the world, including London, New York, Berlin, Stockholm, Tokyo, Singapore, Seoul, and Shanghai. That direct contact with digital innovators has probably deepened her understanding of the significant dangers backdoors and weakened crypto represent to business and society alike.

Lemaire’s tech-savvy approach to encryption stands in painful contrast to that of Theresa May, who doesn’t seem to really understand the problem—or perhaps just doesn’t care. Lemaire not only lived in the UK for 10 years, but even worked at the House of Commons as a researcher for the former Labour MP and minister Denis MacShane. Perhaps we could ask her to come back as Home Secretary.