At a glance.
- EU moves to curtail foreign surveillance, perhaps expand the domestic variety?
- Huawei and international 5G markets.
EU grapples with encryption, surveillance rules impacting security, rights, profits.
Security Week says privacy advocates are bugged about the leaked EU plan to request government access to encrypted messaging with “legality, transparency, necessity and proportionality.” While some accuse proponents of exploiting residents’ fears over recent attacks, as we saw yesterday, that’s not the full story: the proposal has been in the works for some time. Others continue to worry that backdoors open for cops, crooks, and spies alike. If adopted, the measure would stake out an ideological stance, not (yet) a legal obligation.
And then something of a win for rights activists. Following years of talks, MIT Technology Review reports, the EU finalized “expansive” regulation to control surveillance equipment (think spyware, facial recognition software) and increase transparency around its use. Businesses will now need to obtain a license to vend gear with “military applications.” Countries are encouraged to evaluate customers’ potential for human rights violations, and are required to publicize the particulars of licensing and sales decisions—or announce that they have not done so. EU Parliament member Markéta Gregorová commented, “The world’s authoritarian regimes will not be able to secretly get their hands on European cyber-surveillance anymore.” Privately, others are more doubtful about the regulation’s impact, since its human rights provisions are not binding and non-EU countries like Israel and the US are exempt. Gregorová hopes the rule sets a “precedent for other democracies to follow.”
Updates on Huawei and international 5G markets.
Huawei is suing Sweden’s telecommunications authority over its Huawei 5G embargo, according to Capacity. Sweden made headlines last month for its less than subtle ban on Chinese tech. Huawei executive Kenneth Fredriksen said the company “can’t change” its Chinese “heritage” but can work to establish that it poses no threat. The case is significant as the apparent first legal challenge to a Huawei prohibition in an EU court, and for the fact that it might compel the country to disclose proof of the firm’s malfeasance for the first time.
Meanwhile, back on this side of the pond, Brazil is rebuffing US entreaties to join the anti-Huawei campaign, Reuters reports. The country’s leading telecommunications firms refused to meet Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, who has pushed the nation to resist Chinese tech. An “industry source” commented, “This invitation is not compatible with free-market choices that we are used to. We should be able to freely make our best financial decisions.” Krach published an editorial in Brazil earlier this year calling Huawei “the backbone of China’s global surveillance.”