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End-to-End Messaging Encryption Regulation – A European Issue

Balance scale showing the balance between privacy and law enforcement in EU regulation of end-to-end encrypted messaging.

The Controversy of End-to-End Messaging Encryption in the European Union

In a world where online privacy is increasingly threatened, the European Union finds itself at the center of a controversy: Reducing the negative effects of end-to-end encryption of messaging services. This technology, which ensures that only the sender and recipient can read the content of messages, is now being questioned by some EU member states.

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Discover our new Cyberculture article about a End-to-End Messaging Encryption European Regulation. Authored by Jacques Gascuel, a pioneer in Contactless, Serverless, Databaseless, Loginless and wireless security solutions. Stay informed and safe by subscribing to our regular updates.

Regulation of Secure Communication in the EU

The European Union is considering measures to regulate secure messaging practices. This technology ensures that only the sender and recipient can read the messages. However, some EU member states are questioning its impact on law enforcement capabilities

Control of Secure Messaging and Fragmentation

If the EU adopts these proposals, it could fragment the digital landscape. Tech companies might need to choose between complying with EU regulations or limiting their encrypted messaging services to users outside the EU. This could negatively affect European users by reducing their access to secure communication tools.

Why the EU Considers End-to-End Messaging Encryption Control

Law enforcement agencies across 32 European states, including the 27 EU member states, are expressing concerns over the deployment of end-to-end encryption by instant messaging apps. Their fear is that this could hinder the detection of illegal activities, as companies are unable to monitor the content of encrypted messages. This concern is one of the key reasons why the EU is considering implementing control over end-to-end message encryption.

Exploring the Details of the Proposed Regulation on Encrypted Messaging

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, has put forward a proposal that could significantly impact the tech industry. This proposal actively seeks to mandate tech companies to conduct thorough scans of their platforms, extending even to users’ private messages, in an effort to detect any illicit content.

However, this proposal has not been without controversy. It has sown seeds of confusion and concern among cryptographers and privacy advocates alike, primarily due to the potential implications it could have on secure messaging. The balance between ensuring security and preserving privacy remains a complex and ongoing debate in the face of this proposed regulation.

Background of the EU Proposal on Secure Messaging

A significant amount of support can be found among member states for proposals to scan private messages for illegal content, particularly child pornography, as shown in a European Council document. Spain has shown strong support for the ban on end-to-end messaging encryption.

Misunderstanding the Scan Form

Out of the 20 EU countries represented in the document, the majority have declared themselves in favor of some form of scanning encrypted messages. This proposal has caused confusion among cryptographers and privacy advocates due to its potential impact on secure communication protocols.

The Risks of Ending End-to-End Messaging Encryption

Privacy advocates and cryptography experts warn against the inherent risks of weakening encryption. They emphasize that backdoors could be exploited by malicious actors, thus increasing user vulnerability to cyberattacks.

Position of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Secure Messaging

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has taken a stance on end-to-end messaging encryption. In a ruling dated February 13, the ECHR declared that creating backdoors in end-to-end encrypted messaging services like Telegram and Signal would violate fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and privacy. This ruling highlights the importance of end-to-end messaging encryption as a tool for protecting privacy and freedom of expression within the context of human rights in Europe.

Messaging Apps’ Stance on End-to-End Encryption Regulation

As the European Union considers implementing control over end-to-end message encryption, several messaging apps have voiced their concerns and positions. Here are the views of major players in the field:

Signal’s Position on End-to-End Messaging Encryption Regulation

Signal, a secure messaging app known for its commitment to privacy, has taken a strong stance against the proposed regulation. Meredith Whittaker, president of Signal, has described the European legislative proposal as “surveillance wine in security bottles.” In the face of this legislative proposal, Signal has even threatened to cease its activities in Europe. Despite this, Whittaker affirmed that the company would stay in Europe to support the right to privacy of European citizens.

WhatsApp’s Concerns on End-to-End Messaging Encryption Regulation

WhatsApp, another major player in the messaging app field, has also expressed concerns about the proposed regulation. Helen Charles, a public affairs representative for WhatsApp, expressed “concerns regarding the implementation” of such a solution at a seminar. She stated, “We believe that any request to analyze content in an encrypted messaging service could harm fundamental rights.” Charles advocates for the use of other techniques, such as user reporting and monitoring internet traffic, to detect suspicious behavior.

Twitter’s Consideration of End-to-End Messaging Encryption

In 2022, Elon Musk discussed the possibility of integrating end-to-end encryption into Twitter’s messaging. He stated, “I should not be able to access anyone’s private messages, even if someone put a gun to my head” and “Twitter’s private messages should be end-to-end encrypted like Signal, so that no one can spy on or hack your messages.”

Mailfence’s Emphasis on End-to-End Encryption

Mailfence, a secure email service, has declared that end-to-end encryption plays a crucial role in setting up secure messaging. They believe it’s extremely important to protect online privacy.

Meta’s Deployment of End-to-End Encryption

Meta (formerly Facebook) recently deployed end-to-end encryption by default for Messenger conversations. This means that only the sender and recipient can access the content of the messages, with Meta being unable to view them.

Other Messaging Apps’ Views on End-to-End Encryption

Other messaging apps have also expressed their views on end-to-end encryption:

Europol’s View

The heads of European police, including Europol, have expressed their need for legal access to private messages. They have emphasized that tech companies should be able to analyze these messages to protect users. Europol’s director, Catherine De Bolle, even stated, “Our homes are becoming more dangerous than our streets as crime spreads online. To ensure the safety of our society and our citizens, we need this digital environment to be secure. Tech companies have a social responsibility to develop a safer environment where law enforcement and justice can do their job. If the police lose the ability to collect evidence, our society will not be able to prevent people from becoming victims of criminal acts”.

Slack’s View

Slack, a business communication platform, has emphasized the importance of end-to-end encryption in preserving the confidentiality of communications and ensuring business security.

Google’s View

Google Messages uses end-to-end encryption to prevent unauthorized interception of messages. Encryption ensures that only legitimate recipients can access the exchanged messages, preventing malicious third parties from intercepting or reading conversations.

Legislative Amendments on End-to-End Messaging Encryption

Several proposed amendments related to end-to-end messaging encryption include:

Encryption, especially end-to-end, is becoming an essential tool for securing the confidentiality of all users’ communications, including those of children. Any restrictions or infringements on end-to-end encryption can potentially be exploited by malicious third parties. No provision of this regulation should be construed as prohibiting, weakening, or compromising end-to-end encryption. Information society service providers should not face any barriers in offering their services using the highest encryption standards, as this encryption is crucial for trust and security in digital services.

The regulation permits service providers to select the technologies they employ to comply with detection orders. It should not be interpreted as either encouraging or discouraging the use of a specific technology, as long as the technologies and accompanying measures adhere to the requirements of this regulation. This includes the use of end-to-end encryption technology, a vital tool for ensuring the security and confidentiality of users’ communications, including those of children.

When implementing the detection order, providers should employ all available safeguards to ensure that the technologies they use cannot be exploited by them, their employees, or third parties for purposes other than compliance with this regulation. This helps to avoid compromising the security and confidentiality of users’ communications while ensuring the effective detection of child sexual abuse material and balancing all fundamental rights involved. In this context, providers should establish effective internal procedures and safeguards to prevent general surveillance. Detection orders should not apply to end-to-end encryption.

Advantages and Disadvantages of End-to-End Messaging Encryption

Advantages:

  • Privacy: End-to-end messaging encryption protects users’ privacy by ensuring that only the participants in the conversation can read the messages.
  • Security: Even if data is intercepted, it remains unintelligible to unauthorized parties.

Disadvantages:

  • Limitation of Detection of Illegal Activities: Law enforcement agencies fear that end-to-end messaging encryption hinders their ability to fight the most heinous crimes, as it prevents companies from regulating illegal activities on their platforms.

Technical Implications of Backdoors in End-to-End Messaging Encryption

The introduction of backdoors in encryption systems presents significant technical implications. A backdoor is a covert mechanism deliberately introduced into a computer system that allows bypassing standard authentication processes. It can reside in the core of a software’s source code, at the firmware level of a device, or be rooted in communication protocols. Backdoors can be exploited by malicious actors, increasing user vulnerability to cyberattacks. Detecting backdoors requires constant technological vigilance and rigorous system analysis.

Implications of New Cryptographic Technologies for Content Moderation

Innovation in cryptography is paving the way for new methods that allow effective content moderation while preserving end-to-end messaging encryption. Recent research is delving into advanced cryptographic technologies that empower platforms to detect and moderate problematic content without compromising communication privacy. These technologies, often rooted in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, have the capability to analyze metadata and behavior patterns to identify illicit content. For instance, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) is aiming to make platform recommendation algorithms transparent and regulate online content moderation more effectively.

This could encompass systems that assess the context and frequency of messages to detect abuses without decrypting the content itself. Moreover, solutions like AI-based content moderation offer substantial advantages for managing online reputation, delivering faster and more consistent responses than manual moderation. These systems can be trained to recognize specific patterns of hate speech or terrorist content, enabling swift intervention while respecting user privacy. The integration of these innovations into messaging platforms could potentially resolve the dilemma between public safety and privacy protection. It provides authorities with the necessary tools to combat crime without infringing on individuals’ fundamental rights to communication privacy.

Potential Impact of This Technology on End-to-End Messaging Encryption of Messaging Services

Adopting these new cryptographic technologies represents a major advance in how we view online security and privacy. They offer considerable potential for improving content moderation while preserving end-to-end messaging encryption, ensuring a safer internet while protecting human rights in the digital age. These innovations could play a key role in implementing European regulations on end-to-end messaging encryption, balancing security needs with respect for privacy.

Messaging Services Affected by European Legislation

Among the popular messaging applications that use end-to-end messaging encryption available in Europe are:

  • Signal: A secure messaging application that uses end-to-end encryption. It ensures that only the sender and recipient can access message content, even when data is in transit on the network.
  • WhatsApp: Adopted end-to-end encryption in 2016. It ensures that messages are encrypted at the sender’s device and only decrypted at the recipient’s device.
  • Messenger: Meta (formerly Facebook) plans to generalize end-to-end encryption on Messenger by 2024.
  • Telegram: Uses end-to-end encryption for specific features, such as Secret Chats, ensuring message privacy between the sender and recipient.
  • iMessage: Apple’s messaging service uses end-to-end encryption for messages sent between Apple devices.
  • Viber: Another messaging app that uses end-to-end encryption to secure messages between users.
  • Threema: A secure messaging app that employs end-to-end encryption for all communications, providing high privacy standards.
  • Wire: Offers end-to-end encryption for messages, calls, and shared files, focusing on both personal and business communication.
  • Wickr: Provides end-to-end encryption for messaging and is known for its strong security features.
  • Dust: Emphasizes user privacy with end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages.
  • ChatSecure: An open-source messaging app offering end-to-end encryption over XMPP with OTR encryption.
  • Element (formerly Riot): A secure messaging app built on the Matrix protocol, providing end-to-end encryption for all communications.
  • Keybase: Combines secure messaging with file sharing and team communication, all protected by end-to-end encryption.

Balancing Security and Privacy

The debate over end-to-end messaging encryption highlights the difficulty of finding a balance between security and privacy in the digital age. On the one hand, law enforcement agencies need effective tools to fight crime and terrorism. On the other hand, citizens have the fundamental right to privacy and the protection of their communications.

Alternatives to Weakened End-to-End Messaging Encryption?

It is crucial to explore alternatives that address law enforcement’s public safety concerns without compromising users’ privacy. Possible solutions include developing better digital investigation techniques, improving international cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and raising public awareness about online dangers.

Navigating Encryption: Security and Regulatory Impediments

Limitations and Challenges of Advanced Cryptographic Technologies

Hardware security modules (HSMs), such as PGP, actively enhance messaging and file encryption security. Similarly, Near Field Communication (NFC) hardware security modules, like DataShielder, significantly bolster protection. Yet, we must confront the significant limitations that regulations introduce; these aim to curtail the protection of both private and corporate data. By encrypting data before transmission, these solutions robustly defend against interception and unauthorized access, whether legal or otherwise. Additionally, this technology stands resilient to AI-driven content moderation filters. In particular, this pertains to messages and files that systems like DataShielder encrypt externally; subsequently, these services are employed for communication.

Ineffectiveness of AI-Based Moderation Filters

Content moderation systems relying on artificial intelligence face a major obstacle: they cannot decrypt and analyze content protected by advanced encryption methods. As a result, despite advances in AI and natural language processing, these filters become inoperative when confronted with messages or files encrypted via HSM PGP or NFC HSM.

Consequences for Security and Privacy

This limitation raises important questions about platforms’ ability to detect and prevent the spread of illicit content while respecting user privacy. It highlights the technical challenge of developing solutions that strike a balance between privacy protection and public safety requirements.

Towards a Balanced Solution

It is imperative to continue researching and developing new cryptographic technologies that enable effective moderation without compromising privacy. The goal is to find innovative methods that respect fundamental rights while providing authorities with the tools needed to fight criminal activities.

HSM PGP and NFC HSM: Alternatives to End-to-End Messaging Encryption

In addition to end-to-end encrypted messaging services, there are alternative solutions like Hardware Security Modules (HSM PGP) and Near Field Communication Hardware Security Modules (NFC HSM) that offer potentially higher levels of security. These devices are designed to protect cryptographic keys and perform sensitive cryptographic operations, ensuring data security throughout its lifecycle.

DataShielder NFC HSM and DataShielder HSM PGP are examples of products that use these technologies to encrypt communications and data anonymously. These tools allow encryption of not only messages but also all types of data, providing a versaced solution that uses Freemindtronic’s EviEngine technology to provide secure and flexible encryption, meeting the diverse needs of professionals and businesses. This solution is designed to operate without a server or database, enhancing security by keeping all data under the user’s control and reducing potential vulnerabilities.

Impact of HSM PGP and NFC HSM on End-to-End Messaging Encryption

HSM PGP and NFC HSM integration adds a vital layer to cybersecurity. They provide a robust solution for information security.

Specifically, DataShielder HSM PGP offers advanced protection. As the EU considers encryption regulation, DataShielder technologies emerge as key alternatives. They ensure confidentiality and security amidst digital complexity. These technologies advocate for encryption as a human rights safeguard. Simultaneously, they address national security issues.

Conclusion

The European legislator faces complexity in harmonizing regulation with Member States. They aim to finalize it by next year. Clearly, preserving end-to-end encryption requires exploring alternatives. This includes better cooperation between law enforcement and advanced investigative techniques.

HSM PGP and NFC HSM transform messaging into secure communication. They do so without servers or identification. Thus, they provide strong protection for organizational communication and data. These measures balance privacy needs with public safety requirements. They offer a comprehensive digital security approach in a complex environment.

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Europol Data Breach: A Detailed Analysis

Europol office showing a security breach alert on a computer screen, with agents discussing in the background.

Security Breach at Europol: IntelBroker’s Claim and Agency’s Assurance on Data Integrity

Europol Data Breach: Europol has confirmed that its web portal, the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE), has been affected by a security breach. Although the agency assured that no operational data had been compromised, the cybercriminal group IntelBroker has claimed responsibility for the attack.

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Europol Data Breach Revelation. Stay updated with our latest insights.

Europol Data Breach: The Alarming European Cyber ​​Threat, by Jacques Gascuel, the innovator behind advanced security and safety systems for sensitive data, provides an analysis of the crucial role of encryption in this cyber attack..

May 2024: Europol Security Breach Highlights Vulnerabilities

In May 2024, Europol, the European law enforcement agency, actively confirmed a security breach. This incident sparked significant concern among security experts and the public. The threat actor, known as IntelBroker, claimed to have compromised Europol’s web portal, potentially jeopardizing internal and possibly classified data. Following this confirmed breach, Europol’s cyber security has been rigorously tested. The cybercriminal group took responsibility for the intrusion, underscoring potential vulnerabilities within the European agency.

Transitioning to the platform at the heart of this incident, what exactly is the EPE platform? The Europol Platform for Experts (EPE) is an online tool utilized by law enforcement experts to share knowledge, best practices, and non-personal data on crime.

What is the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE)?

The EPE, or Europol Platform for Experts, is a vital online tool that allows law enforcement experts to exchange knowledge and non-personal data on crime. It plays a crucial role in facilitating international cooperation and secure information sharing between law enforcement agencies. The recent compromise of EPE by the IntelBroker Group highlights the critical importance of security of data and communications systems within these agencies.

Transitioning to the intricacies of cybersecurity breaches, let’s delve into the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE) and the recent challenges it faced.

Intrusion Methods and Compromised Data

Cybercriminals exploited specific vulnerabilities not disclosed as of May 16, 2024, which enabled the exfiltration of data including FOUO (For Official Use Only) information, employee details and internal documents. This breach exposed critical data and represents a direct risk to the integrity of Europol’s operations. Moving forward, let’s explore the ‘FOUO Designation’ to comprehend how it underpins the security of sensitive information.

Understanding the FOUO Designation

The FOUO (For Official Use Only) designation is applied to protect information whose unauthorized disclosure could compromise operations or security. Used primarily by government agencies, this classification aims to control access to sensitive information that is not in the public domain. It is essential to maintain mission integrity and the protection of critical data. Recognizing the criticality of the FOUO designation, Europol has swiftly enacted robust security measures and initiated a thorough investigation to mitigate any potential repercussions of the breach.

Europol Response and Security Measures

In response to the incident: Europol has strengthened its security protocols and launched an internal investigation to assess the extent of the breach. Reactive measures have been taken to identify vulnerabilities and prevent future intrusions.

Post-Incident Measures

Europol confirmed the incident but assured that no central system or operational data was affected. The agency took initial steps to assess the situation and maintained that the incident involved a closed user group of the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE).

Europol’s Proactive Response to Security Breach: Strengthening Protocols and Investigating Vulnerabilities

In response to the security breach, Europol has proactively enhanced its security protocols and initiated an internal investigation to determine the breach’s full scope. Taking swift action, the agency implemented reactive measures to pinpoint vulnerabilities and fortify defenses against future intrusions.

Upon confirming the breach, Europol moved quickly to reassure the public, emphasizing that no operational data had been compromised. The agency clarified that Europol’s central systems remained intact, ensuring that the integrity of operational data was preserved.

To address the incident, initial steps have been taken to evaluate the situation thoroughly. Reinforcing its commitment to security, Europol has redoubled efforts to strengthen its protocols and conduct a comprehensive internal investigation, aiming to identify vulnerabilities and prevent future security breaches.

Unveiling the IntelBroker Cybercriminal Group

The IntelBroker Group, notorious for past cyberattacks against government agencies and private companies, has emerged as the culprit behind the Europol data breach. Their involvement raises serious concerns, as their ability to conduct sophisticated attacks suggests a high level of expertise and resources.

The Murky Origins of the Cybercriminals

While the exact origin of these cybercriminals remains shrouded in mystery, their to execute such a complex attack undoubtedly points to a group with significant skill and resources at their disposal.

Scrutinizing the Data Compromised in the Europol Security Breach

Turning our attention to the compromised data, the attackers targeted specific vulnerabilities, which are yet to be disclosed. This resulted in the exfiltration of sensitive information, including FOUO (For Official Use Only) data, employee details, and internal documents. This breach exposes the critical nature of the stolen data and poses a direct threat to the integrity of Europol’s operations.

Delving Deeper: What Information Was Compromised?

Unveiling SIRIUS, a Europol Initiative for Enhanced Cooperation

Amidst the compromised data, SIRIUS emerges as a Europol initiative that has been potentially compromised. SIRIUS aims to bolster cooperation and information exchange between law enforcement and major digital service platforms. This breach raises concerns about the potential disruption of critical collaborative efforts against cybercrime.

Europol’s EC3: A Vital Frontline Against Cyber Threats in Cryptocurrency and Aerospace

The Europol Cybercrime Centre (EC3) plays a pivotal role in combating cybercrime, and its specialized divisions dedicated to monitoring and analyzing cryptocurrency and space-related activities have been potentially compromised. These divisions are crucial in countering cyber threats in these highly technical and rapidly evolving areas. IntelBroker’s claims of infiltrating these divisions underscore the gravity of the security breach and highlight potential risks to sensitive Europol operations.

Data Theft Claimed by IntelBroker: A Granular Analysis

IntelBroker asserts access to classified and FOUO data, encompassing source code, details about alliance employees, and recognition documents. They also allege infiltration into the cryptocurrency and space divisions of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the SIRIUS project, and the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Partnership (CCSE). These claims paint a disturbing picture of the extent of the data breach and the potential damage it could inflict.

Active Analysis of the Europol EPE Breach and IntelBroker Claims

Reports indicate that the breach impacted the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE), an online platform utilized by law enforcement experts to share knowledge, best practices, and non-personal data on crime. This platform serves as a critical hub for collaboration and information sharing within the law enforcement community.

IntelBroker claims the compromised data includes information about alliance employees, FOUO (For Official Use Only) source code, PDFs, as well as recognition documents and guidelines. These claims suggest that the attackers gained access to a wide range of sensitive information, potentially jeopardizing the security of Europol personnel and operations.

Sample data provided by IntelBroker appears to show screenshots of the EPE platform, revealing access to discussions between law enforcement and SIRIUS officers regarding requests for sensitive data from social media platforms. These screenshots raise serious concerns about the potential exposure of confidential communications and sensitive data.

IntelBroker boasts of accessing data designated as classified and For Official Use Only (FOUO), including source code, information about alliance employees, and recognition documents. They further claim to have penetrated the cryptocurrency and space divisions of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), the SIRIUS project, and the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Partnership (CCSE). These claims, if true, indicate a level of sophistication and access that is deeply concerning.

Implications of the Europol Data Security Incident

If the claims are accurate, this information could jeopardize ongoing investigations and the security of the personal data of the officers involved. This breach raises critical questions about data security within law enforcement agencies and highlights the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information.

Statistic of Europol Data Breach

No precise statistics on the extent of the breach were provided. However, the nature of the data involved indicates a potential risk to the security of personal and operational information.

Previous Data Exfiltration Incidents at Europol

Europol has already been the victim of data exfiltration incidents, including the disappearance of sensitive personal files in the summer of 2023. On 6 September 2023, Europol management was informed that the personal paper files belonging to Catherine De Bolle, Europol’s Executive Director, and other senior officials before September 2023 had disappeared. When officials checked all of the agency’s records, they discovered “additional missing records” (Serious Security Breach Hits EU Police Agency – POLITICO).

Short, Medium and Long Term Consequences

The consequences of this breach could be wide-ranging, affecting confidence in the security of European data and Europol’s ability to conduct confidential investigations. The consequences of this breach could be wide-ranging, affecting confidence in the security of European data and Europol’s ability to conduct confidential investigations.

Gray Zone: Europol Private Messaging – Unconfirmed Compromise Raises Concerns

The Europol data breach has sparked a debate surrounding the potential compromise of private message exchanges between law enforcement officials. While claims have been made about the exposure of sensitive communications, the extent and veracity of these allegations remain unconfirmed. This section delves into the murky waters of this situation, examining the concerns raised and the need for further investigation.

Unverified Claims and the Lingering Shadow of Doubt

IntelBroker, the cybercriminal group responsible for the breach, has asserted access to sensitive data, including private communications. These claims have raised alarms among law enforcement officials and the public, prompting questions about the potential impact on ongoing investigations and the safety of informants.

However, it is crucial to acknowledge that these claims have not been independently verified. Europol has not yet released any specific information about the compromised data, leaving many unanswered questions and a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the situation.

Potential Consequences of a Compromised Private Messaging System

While the specific details of the compromised data remain unconfirmed, the potential exposure of private message exchanges could have significant consequences. This includes the possibility of compromised:

  • Personally identifiable information (PII): This could put individuals involved in law enforcement operations at risk.
  • Data used in investigations: Leaked information could jeopardize ongoing investigations and hinder the pursuit of justice.

The disruption to these critical operations could have a broader impact on law enforcement efforts. It is crucial to maintain public trust in law enforcement agencies, and a thorough investigation is essential to understand the full scope of the breach and take necessary steps to mitigate any potential damage.

Global Cybersecurity Context

Cybersecurity has emerged as a significant global issue; as societies and economies digitize, the stakes rise. Consequently, government agencies worldwide face an increasing number of sophisticated cyberattacks. These incidents compel them to enhance their security protocols.

Moreover, international cooperation on cybersecurity is gaining momentum. States are now acknowledging the urgency of conforming to cyber standards. This shift aims to shield the global digital economy from devastating attacks.

Furthermore, the escalation of threats like cybercrime, assaults on critical infrastructure, electronic espionage, and offensive operations necessitates systemic collaboration. Such unified efforts are essential to foster global resilience.

Legal Implications of Europol Data Breach and GDPR

Data breaches have significant legal implications, especially under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR imposes strict obligations on organizations to implement adequate security measures and quickly notify affected individuals in the event of a breach. Failure to meet these requirements can result in significant financial penalties, reputational damage, and loss of customer trust. Organizations should understand the legal consequences of data breaches, including potential fines and penalties, and take proactive steps to navigate those consequences.

Active Defense Against the Europol Security Breach: The Role of Advanced Cybersecurity Solutions

DataShielder Suite and DataShielder Defense: Comprehensive Cybersecurity Solutions for Europol

The Europol data breach serves as a stark reminder of the ever-evolving cyber threats that organizations face. While the specific details of the breach remain under investigation, the potential compromise of sensitive information, including private message exchanges, highlights the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures.

DataShielder Suite and DataShielder Defense, showcased at Eurosatory 2024, offer comprehensive cybersecurity solutions that can effectively safeguard all forms of communication, encompassing messaging services, data transfers, and other sensitive exchanges. These solutions provide a multi-layered approach to data protection, addressing both encryption and key management:

Robust Encryption Across All Communication Channels

DataShielder Suite and DataShielder Defense employ industry-standard encryption algorithms, such as AES-256 CBC, to protect all types of communication, including messaging services. This ensures that even in the event of unauthorized access, sensitive data remains encrypted and inaccessible.

Zero Knowledge & Zero Trust Architecture for Secure Key Management

The Zero Knowledge & Zero Trust architecture eliminates the need for users to share their encryption keys, minimizing the risk of data breaches. Instead, the keys are securely stored and managed within Hardware Security Modules (HSMs) or mobile Hybrid NFC HSMs, providing an additional layer of protection.

Segmented Key Management for Enhanced Security

DataShielder Suite and DataShielder Defense’s segmented key management system further enhances security by dividing encryption keys into multiple segments and storing them in separate, controlled physical environments. This makes it virtually impossible for cybercriminals to obtain all the necessary key segments to decrypt sensitive data.

Immediate Implementation for Europol

DataShielder Suite and DataShielder Defense offer immediate deployment capabilities, allowing Europol to swiftly strengthen its cybersecurity posture across all communication channels. These solutions can be integrated into existing IT infrastructure without disrupting ongoing operations, ensuring a smooth transition to enhanced data protection.

Eurosatory 2024: An Opportunity for Comprehensive Cybersecurity

Eurosatory 2024 provides an opportunity for Europol to engage with DataShielder representatives and explore the full potential of these comprehensive cybersecurity solutions. Experts from DataShielder will be available at the event to discuss specific implementation strategies and address any questions or concerns.

Conclusion on Europol Data Breach

The Europol breach highlights the growing threat of cyberattacks and the need for international agencies to continuously strengthen their defences. The incident underscores the importance of transparency and cooperation to maintain public trust in institutions’ ability to protect sensitive data. The complexity of identifying cybercriminals remains a challenge for the authorities, who must navigate the darkness of cyberspace to locate them.

Official Sources Regarding the Europol Security Breach

Official Sources Regarding the Europol Security Breach

  • Europol Statement: In a statement to POLITICO, Europol spokesperson Jan Op Gen Oorth confirmed that the agency was aware of the incident, which “occurred recently and was immediately discovered.” Europol is currently assessing the situation.
  • System Integrity: It was clarified that “neither Europol’s central system nor operational systems were hacked, which means that no operational data from Europol was compromised.”
  • FBI Seizure of BreachForums: Following the data breach, the FBI has seized control of BreachForums, the hacking site where IntelBroker intended to sell the stolen Europol data. This seizure includes the site’s backend and its official Telegram channel, disrupting the potential sale of the data.

It is important to note that no official press release from Europol regarding this specific breach has been found. However, the statements provided to POLITICO offer an insight into Europol’s initial response to the incident. Measures have already been taken, including the deactivation of the Europol Platform for Experts (EPE), which has been under maintenance since May 10th. The incident has not been acknowledged as an intrusion into the systems, although Europol has not explicitly denied the legitimacy of the cybercriminal’s claims.

For detailed and official information, it is recommended to regularly check Europol’s website and official communication channels.


This updated section provides a comprehensive view of the situation, including the recent actions taken by the FBI, which are crucial to the context of the Europol data breach.

Encrypted messaging: ECHR says no to states that want to spy on them

ECHR landmark ruling in favor of encrypted messaging, featuring EviCypher NFC HSM technology by Freemindtronic.

Protecting encrypted messaging: the ECHR decision

Encrypted messaging is vital for digital privacy and free speech, but complex to protect. The historic ECHR decision of February 13, 2024 supports strong encryption against government surveillance. We discuss the importance of this decision. You will discover EviCypher NFC HSM encryption technology from Freemindtronic, guardian of this decision but for all messaging services in the world.

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Encrypted messaging: ECHR says no to states that want to spy on them

The historic judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) elevates encrypted messaging to the rank of guardian of privacy and freedom of expression. But this also poses security and public order problems. On February 13, 2024, she spoke out in favor of strong encryption, against state interference.

The ECHR has rejected Russian authorities’ request to Telegram, a messaging application, to provide private keys for encrypting its users’ communications, or to install backdoors that would allow authorities to access them. The Court considered that this request violated the rights to privacy and correspondence, as well as freedom of expression, of Telegram users.

The context of the case

The case background Six journalists and human rights activists challenged the request of the Russian authorities to Telegram before the ECHR. They claimed that this request violated their fundamental rights. They relied on Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. These articles protect the right to privacy and correspondence, and the right to freedom of expression.

The reasoning of the Court

The Court’s reasoning The Court acknowledged that the request of the Russian authorities had a legitimate aim of national security and crime prevention. However, it found that the interference with the rights of the applicants was not proportionate to the aim pursued. It emphasised that encryption plays a vital role in ensuring the confidentiality of communications and the protection of personal data. It held that the request of the Russian authorities was too general and vague. It did not offer enough safeguards against abuse. It could deter people from using encrypted messaging services.

The Court also noted that encryption helps citizens and businesses to defend themselves against the misuse of information technologies, such as hacking, identity theft, data breach, fraud and undue disclosure of confidential information. It stated that this should be duly taken into account when assessing the measures that could weaken encryption.

The Court further observed that, in order to be useful to the authorities, the information must be decrypted at some point. It suggested that the authorities should use other means to obtain the necessary information, such as undercover operations, metadata analysis and international cooperation.

The consequences of the decision

The decision’s implications The decision of the Court is final and binding for Russia. It has to implement it within a reasonable time. It also has a broader impact. It sets out principles applicable to all member states of the Council of Europe, which comprises 47 countries. It sends a strong signal in favour of the respect of fundamental rights on the internet. It aligns with the position of several international organisations, such as the UN, the EU or the OSCE. They have stressed the importance of encryption for the protection of human rights online.

The official link of the ECHR decision is: AFFAIRE PODCHASOV c. RUSSIE and AFFAIRE PODCHASOV c. RUSSIE and AFFAIRE PODCHASOV c. RUSSIE. You can access it by clicking on the title or copying the address in your browser.

The position of other countries in the world

Encryption of communications is not a consensual topic. Countries have different, even opposite, positions on the issue. Here are some examples:

  • The Netherlands have argued for the right to strong encryption. They considered it a human right that must be safeguarded, in the country’s own interest.
  • The United States have repeatedly asked technology companies to provide them with access to encrypted data. They invoked the need to fight terrorism. These requests have been challenged by companies, such as Apple. They refused to create backdoors in their encryption systems.
  • China adopted a cybersecurity law in 2016. It requires companies to cooperate with authorities to provide encryption keys or means to bypass encryption. This law has been denounced by human rights defenders. They fear that it will be used to strengthen the surveillance and censorship of the Chinese regime.
  • The European Union adopted a directive on the protection of personal data in 2016. It recognizes encryption as a technical measure suitable for ensuring the security of data. The EU also supported the development of end-to-end encryption. It funded projects such as the free software Signal, which allows to encrypt calls and messages.

These examples show the divergences and convergences between different countries on the subject of encryption. They also reveal the political, economic and social issues that are at stake.

The world’s reactions to the ECHR decision on Encrypted Messaging

The ECHR decision on Encrypted Messaging has sparked different reactions in the world. Some countries praised the judgment, which boosts the protection of human rights on the internet. Other countries slammed the position of the Court, which undermines, according to them, the judicial cooperation and the national security.

The supporters of the ECHR decision

The Netherlands are among the countries that supported the ECHR decision. They argued for the right to strong encryption, considering it a human right that must be safeguarded, in the country’s own interest. The European Union also backed the Court, reminding that encryption is a technical measure suitable to ensure the security of data, in accordance with the directive on the protection of personal data adopted in 2016. The EU also stressed that it funds the development of end-to-end encryption, through projects such as the free software Signal, which allows to encrypt calls and messages.

The opponents of the ECHR decision

The United States are among the countries that opposed the ECHR decision. They have repeatedly asked technology companies to provide them with access to encrypted data, invoking the need to fight terrorism. These requests have been challenged by companies, such as Apple, which have refused to create backdoors in their encryption systems. China also expressed its disagreement with the Court, stating that encryption of communications fosters the dissemination of illegal or dangerous content, such as terrorist propaganda, child pornography or hate speech. China recalled that it has adopted in 2016 a cybersecurity law, which requires companies to cooperate with authorities to provide encryption keys or means to bypass encryption.

The non-signatories of the European

Convention on Human Rights Some countries have not reacted to the ECHR decision, because they are not signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is the case for example of Russia, which ceased to be a member of the Council of Europe on March 16, 2022, after the invasion of Ukraine decided by the Kremlin. The country no longer participates in the activities of the ECHR. This is also the case of many countries in Africa, Asia or Latin America, which are not part of the Council of Europe and which have not ratified the Convention.

The signatory countries of the European Convention on Human Rights

The European Convention on Human Rights is an international treaty adopted by the Council of Europe in 1950, which aims to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in the states parties. It entered into force in 1953, after being ratified by ten countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom .

Since then, the Convention has been ratified by 36 other countries, bringing the total number of states parties to 46. They are: Albania, Germany, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey and Ukraine.

All these countries recognize the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which is in charge of ensuring the respect of the Convention. The ECHR can be seized by any person, group of persons or non-governmental organization who claims to be a victim of a violation of the Convention by one of the states parties. The ECHR can also be seized by a state party who alleges that another state party has violated the Convention. The ECHR delivers judgments that are final and binding for the states parties.

An innovative and sovereign alternative: the EviCypher NFC HSM technology

Facing the challenges of encryption of communications, some users may look for an alternative more innovative and sovereign than the traditional messaging applications. This is the case of the EviCypher NFC HSM technology, developed by the Andorran company Freemindtronic. This technology makes it possible to generate, store, manage and use AES-256 encryption keys to encrypt all communication systems, such as WhatsApp, sms, mms, rcs, Telegram, webmail, email client, private messaging like Linkedin, Skype, X and even via postal mail with encrypted QR code messages, etc.

EviCypher NFC HSM: A Secure and Innovative Solution for Encrypted Messaging

Firstly, it guarantees the confidentiality and integrity of data, even if the messaging services are compromised for any reason, including by a court order. Indeed, it is physically impossible for Freemindtronic, the manufacturer of the DataShielder products, to provide encryption keys generated randomly by the user. These keys are stored encrypted in AES-256 via segmented keys in the HSM and NFC HSM. Only the user holds the decryption keys, which he can erase at any time.

Secondly, it preserves the anonymity and sovereignty of users, because it works without server and without database. It does not require internet connection, nor user account, nor phone number, nor email address. It leaves no trace of its use, nor of its user. It does not depend on the policies or regulations of the countries or companies that provide the communication services.

Thirdly, it offers an extreme portability and availability of encryption keys, thanks to the NFC technology. The user can carry his encryption keys on a physical support, such as a card, a bracelet, a key ring, etc. He can use them with any device compatible with NFC, such as a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, etc. He can also share them with other trusted users, in a simple and secure way.

Lastly, it is compatible with the EviCore NFC HSM or EviCore HSM technology, which allows to secure the access to equipment and applications. The user can thus use the same physical support to encrypt his communications and to authenticate on his different digital services.

The EviCypher NFC HSM technology guarantees the confidentiality and integrity of data, even if the messaging services are compromised for any reason, including by a court order. Indeed, it is physically impossible for Freemindtronic, the manufacturer of the DataShielder products, to provide encryption keys generated randomly by the user. These keys are stored encrypted in AES-256 via segmented keys in the HSM and NFC HSM. Only the user holds the decryption keys, which he can erase at any time.

Transforming Encrypted Messaging with EviCypher NFC HSM

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisively highlights encrypted messaging’s vital role in protecting privacy and freedom of speech. EviCypher NFC HSM, aligning perfectly with these principles, emerges as a pioneering solution. It confronts the challenges of state surveillance and privacy breaches head-on, providing unmatched defense for private communications. EviCypher NFC HSM goes beyond the ECHR’s conventional security and privacy requirements. It crafts an inviolable communication platform that honors users’ privacy rights profoundly. With its innovative approach, EviCypher NFC HSM introduces new data protection standards, forging a robust barrier against government intrusion.

Global Reach and User Empowerment

EviCypher NFC HSM’s technology has a broad global impact, seamlessly addressing the varied encryption landscapes worldwide. It provides a consistent answer to privacy and security issues, disregarding geographic limits. This global applicability makes EviCypher NFC HSM an indispensable tool for users worldwide, solidifying its position as a guardian of global privacy.

Despite potential skepticism about new technologies, the user-friendly and accessible nature of EviCypher NFC HSM aims to dispel such doubts. It promotes wider adoption among those seeking to enhance their communication security. Its compatibility with diverse devices and straightforward operation simplify encryption, facilitating an effortless shift towards secure communication practices.

EviCypher NFC HSM: A Beacon of User Autonomy

EviCypher NFC HSM technology deeply commits to empowering users. It allows individuals to generate, store, and manage their encryption keys independently, giving them direct control. This autonomy not only improves data security but also demonstrates a strong commitment to protecting users’ fundamental rights. It resonates with the values emphasized across the discussion, providing an effective way to strengthen online privacy and security. EviCypher NFC HSM marks a significant leap forward in the movement towards a more secure and private digital landscape.

This technologie HSM stands out as a state-of-the-art, self-sufficient solution, perfectly in line with the ECHR’s decisions and the worldwide need for secure encrypted communication. It leads the charge in advancing user autonomy and security, signaling a crucial evolution in encrypted messaging towards unparalleled integrity.

Incorporating EviCypher’s distinctive features—its operation without servers or databases, interoperability, and backward compatibility with all current communication systems, such as email, SMS, MMS, RCS, and social media messaging, even extending to physical mail via encrypted QR codes—highlights its adaptability and innovative spirit. EviCypher’s resistance to zero-day vulnerabilities, due to encrypting communications upfront, further underscores its exceptional security. Operating anonymously and offline, it provides instant usability without requiring user identification or account creation, ensuring seamless compatibility across phone, computer, and communication systems.

Summary at encrypted messaging

Encrypted Messaging is crucial for the digital society. It protects internet users’ privacy and freedom of expression. But it also challenges security and public order. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) supported strong encryption on February 13, 2024. It defended the right to encryption, against states that want to access it. Several international organizations agree with this position. They emphasize the importance of encryption for human rights online. However, the ECHR decision sparked diverse reactions worldwide. Different countries have different views on encryption.

Our conclusion on Encrypted Messaging

EviCypher NFC HSM technology is an innovative and sovereign alternative for Encrypted Messaging. Users can generate, store, manage and use AES-256 encryption keys. They can encrypt all communication systems, such as WhatsApp, sms, mms, rcs, Telegram, webmail, email client, etc. EviCypher NFC HSM technology ensures data confidentiality and integrity. It works even if messaging services are compromised. It preserves users’ anonymity and sovereignty. It does not need server or database. It offers extreme portability and availability of encryption keys, thanks to NFC technology. It is compatible with EviCore NFC HSM or EviCore HSM technology. They secure access to equipment and applications.

DataShielder products provide EviCypher NFC HSM technology. They are contactless encryption devices, guardians of keys and secrets. Freemindtronic, an Andorran company specialized in NFC security, designs and manufactures them.

New EU Data Protection Regulation 2023/2854: What you need to know

New EU Data Protection Regulation 2023/2854: What you need to know
Learn more about the new European Data Protection Regulation (2023/2854) written by Jacques Gascuel, inventor of sensitive data safety and security systems, for Freemindtronic. This article may be updated on this subject.

EU 2023/2854 Data Protection Rules: what you need to know

The EU has adopted a new regulation to protect personal data published in OJ L, 2023/2854 on 22.12.2023. How does this impact you and your business? Learn more in this article and discover why Freemindtronic innovations are already compliant.

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What you need to know about the new EU data protection regulation (2023/2854)

Personal data is a valuable asset in the digital age, but also a vulnerable asset. This is why the European Union has adopted a new regulation to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU. Data

Protection Regulation (EU) 2023/2854 supplements and updates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has been in force since 2018. The new regulation introduces additional procedural rules for the application of the GDPR, particularly in cross-border cases. It also creates the European Data Protection Authority (EDPA), a new independent body that ensures the consistent application of EU data protection rules across the EU. The new regulation will come into force on November 26, 2024. In this article, we will explain the main provisions of the new regulation, its advantages and disadvantages, its international scope and its reactions and controversies.

We will also show you how some products and technologies from Freemindtronic, an Andorran company specialized in security and cybersecurity of computer and information systems, already comply with the new regulation, since they offer innovative and ecological solutions to protect the personal data without using servers, databases, online accounts or identifiers.

The main provisions of the EU data protection law

Several measures to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of personal data are introduced by the EU data protection law. These measures are:

  • Declaration of the activity and the processing practices. The controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data must declare them to the national data protection authorities (NDPA) and to EDPA. The EDPA is a new independent body. It oversees the consistent application of the EU data protection rules across the EU. It also cooperates with the NDPA and the other EU institutions. The goal is to ensure the protection of personal data.
  • Implementation of technical and organizational measures. The controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data must implement them to prevent the risks of damage or loss of data. For example, these measures include the encryption of data, the pseudonymization of data, the limitation of data access, the regular testing of data security, the notification of data breaches, and the appointment of a data protection officer.
  • Reinforcement of the rights of the persons concerned. They have reinforced rights, such as the right of access, the right of opposition, the right of erasure, the right to data portability and the right to restriction of processing. These rights allow the persons to obtain information about the processing of their data, to object to certain types of processing, to request the deletion of their data, to transfer their data to another entity, and to limit the processing of their data in certain cases.
  • Provision of administrative sanctions. The regulation provides them. They can reach up to 20 million euros or 4% of the annual global turnover, depending on the severity of the infringement. The NDPA or the EDPA, depending on the case, impose these sanctions. The national courts or the Court of Justice of the European Union can hear the appeals.

The advantages and disadvantages of the EU data protection reform

The EU data protection reform has pros and cons for different actors involved.

The benefits for the persons whose data are processed

The regulation offers a better protection of their rights and interests. They can control more the use of their data and benefit from a high level of security. Moreover, they have an easy and fast access to the information related to the processing of their data, as well as to the remedies in case of dispute. For instance, a person can request a copy of their data from an online platform. If they find any inaccurate or outdated data, they can ask for a correction or an update. They can also withdraw their consent to the processing of their data at any time, or ask for the deletion of their data if they no longer want to use the platform.

The drawbacks for the controllers and the managers of the entities that process personal data

The regulation imposes additional obligations and stricter constraints on them. They must comply with harmonized rules within the EU, while taking into account the national and regional specificities. Furthermore, they face more severe sanctions in case of non-compliance with the regulation. For example, an entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU must declare its activity and its processing practices to the NDPA and the EDPA.

It must also obtain the prior consent of the persons for the processing of their data, unless there is a legal basis for the processing. The entity must process the data in a lawful, fair and transparent manner, and collect them for specific, explicit and legitimate purposes. It must also respect the principles of data minimization, data accuracy, data storage limitation, data integrity and data confidentiality.

The international scope of the EU data protection rules

The EU data protection rules have an international scope, as they apply to any entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU, whether it is established or not in the EU. The regulation therefore requires foreign entities to respect the same rules as European entities, under penalty of sanctions. It aims to ensure an equivalent level of protection for personal data transferred outside the EU.

For this purpose, the regulation establishes different mechanisms to ensure the adequacy of the data protection in the third countries or the international organizations that receive the data. These mechanisms include, for example, the adoption of adequacy decisions by the European Commission, the use of standard contractual clauses, the adherence to binding corporate rules, or the certification by approved schemes.

The reactions and controversies of the EU data protection regulation

The EU data protection regulation has provoked diverse reactions, ranging from approval to contestation.

Positive reactions

Some actors have welcomed the interest of the regulation to strengthen the trust and to foster the technological evolution in the field of data protection. They have highlighted the innovative and ambitious character of the regulation, which places the EU at the forefront of the protection of personal data. For example, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the independent advisor of the EU institutions on data protection issues, has praised the regulation as a “historic achievement” and a “major step forward” for the protection of the fundamental rights of the individuals in the digital age.

Negative reactions

Some actors have criticized the obligation to inform the NDPA and the EDPA about the activity and the processing practices of personal data. They have considered that it could infringe their national sovereignty or that it could create a risk of illegal or fraudulent exercise by some foreign entities. They have also expressed their concern about the complexity and the heaviness of the regulation, which could hinder the competitiveness and the growth of the entities that process personal data. For example, some member states, such as France, Germany, Italy or Spain, have raised objections or reservations about certain aspects of the regulation.

These aspects include the role and the powers of the EDPA, the criteria and the procedures for the adequacy decisions, or the level and the distribution of the sanctions.

How Freemindtronic products and technologies protect personal data

Freemindtronic is an Andorran company that specializes in security and cybersecurity of computer systems and information systems. It designs and develops green technology products and services under white label, based on contactless technology (NFC). Some of its products are PassCypher, DataShielder, SeedNFC or Cardokey, which use embedded technologies such as EviCore NFC HSM, EviCore HSM OpenPGP or EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension.

These products and technologies have several advantages for the protection of personal data, compared to traditional solutions based on servers, databases, online accounts or identifiers. Indeed, they work without server, without database, anonymously from end to end, without the need to create an account on the internet or to identify themselves to use the products. Therefore, they reduce the risks of loss or damage of data, respect the rights of the persons concerned, and comply with the harmonized rules in the EU. These products and technologies of Freemindtronic are already compliant with the European regulation on data protection, because they respect the principles of security, confidentiality and integrity of data, as well as the rights of the persons concerned. They offer an innovative and ecological alternative to traditional solutions, which may present risks or constraints for data protection.

Conclusion

The regulation (EU) 2023/2854 is an important text for the protection of personal data in the EU. It introduces measures to ensure the security, confidentiality and integrity of data, as well as to reinforce the rights of the persons concerned. It applies to any entity that processes personal data of persons located in the EU, whether it is established or not in the EU. It was adopted within the legislative process on the fundamental rights in the EU, but it also provoked reactions and controversies between some member states. It will enter into force on November 26, 2024.

Pegasus: The cost of spying with one of the most powerful spyware in the world

Pegasus The Cost of Spying with the Most Powerful Spyware
Pegasus by Jacques Gascuel: This article will be updated with any new information on the topic.

Pegasus: The Cost of Spying

Pegasus is a powerful spyware that has been used by several countries to spy on political figures, journalists, human rights activists or opponents. How does it work, who has been spied on, what are the consequences, and how much does it cost? Find out in this article.

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Pegasus: The Cost of Spying with the Most Powerful Spyware in the World

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group. It allows to remotely monitor the activities of a mobile phone. According to an investigation conducted by a consortium of international media, several countries have used this software to spy on political figures, journalists, human rights activists or opponents.

The scandal of Pegasus has provoked a global outcry. It has raised many questions about the legality, the ethics and the consequences of this cyber-surveillance. How does Pegasus work? Who has been spied on by Pegasus? Who is responsible for the spying? What are the consequences of the spying? And most importantly, how much does Pegasus cost?

In this article, we will try to answer these questions in detail. We will use reliable and verified sources of information. We will also present some statistics and comparisons to give you an idea of the scale and the impact of Pegasus.

What is Pegasus?

Pegasus is a spyware, also called spy software. It allows to remotely monitor the activities of a mobile phone. It can access the messages, the calls, the contacts, the photos, the videos, the location, the microphone or the camera of the target phone. It can also activate or deactivate certain functions of the phone, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Pegasus: a spyware that raises many questions

Pegasus is a powerful spyware that the NSO group designed. It can monitor and steal data and activities from mobile phones secretly. The NSO group is an Israeli company founded in 2010 by former members of Unit 8200; the Israeli military intelligence service. The company claims that its software aims to fight terrorism and organized crime; such as pedophiles or cartel leaders. It also claims that it only sells it to governments or authorized security agencies; with the approval of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The countries that acquire these systems must respect their commitments stipulated in the license.

However, a consortium of international media outlets revealed that many countries have used Pegasus for other purposes. They have monitored various people, including politicians, journalists, human rights activists and political opponents. This raises many questions about the protection of privacy and human rights in the digital age. It also exposes the vulnerabilities and challenges of cybersecurity in a world where surveillance technologies are becoming more powerful and discreet.

Pegasus works by exploiting security flaws in the operating systems of phones, such as iOS or Android. It can infect a phone in two ways: either by sending a malicious link to the target phone, which must click on it to be infected; or by using a technique called “zero-click”, which allows to infect a phone without any interaction from the user.

Pegasus is a very sophisticated and discreet software. It can self-destruct or camouflage itself to avoid being detected. It can also adapt to security updates of operating systems to continue working. According to NSO Group, Pegasus is able to target more than 50,000 phone numbers in the world.

Unveiling Pegasus Attack Vectors: Stealth and Subterfuge in Cyber Espionage

In the Shadows of Cyber Espionage: Pegasus Strikes Unseen

In the realm of cyber espionage, Pegasus has mastered the art of covert infiltration, employing a spectrum of attack vectors designed to leave its targets unaware and defenseless. As a specialized journalist in the field of espionage, we delve into the clandestine world of Pegasus, shedding light on the methods it employs to breach digital fortresses.

Email: The Trojan Horse

Pegasus’s espionage campaign often commences with a seemingly innocuous email. The target receives a carefully crafted message, concealing a malicious payload. This deception operates with remarkable subtlety, bypassing traditional safeguards. Victims unknowingly execute the payload, granting Pegasus a foothold into their digital lives.

SMS Intrigue: Texts That Betray

SMS messages can become instruments of betrayal when wielded by Pegasus. Crafted to exploit vulnerabilities in messaging apps, these seemingly harmless texts harbor malicious intent. Clicking on a compromised message can be all it takes for Pegasus to silently infiltrate a device.

Web of Deceit: Navigating Vulnerabilities

Pegasus’s reach extends into the very fabric of the internet. Web browsers, portals to information and connectivity, can become gateways for intrusion. By exploiting unpatched browser vulnerabilities, Pegasus sidesteps user interaction, infiltrating systems silently.

WhatsApp’s Vulnerable Connection

Even encrypted platforms like WhatsApp are not impervious to Pegasus’s advances. The spyware capitalizes on vulnerabilities in this widely used messaging app. A simple call on WhatsApp can translate into a gateway for Pegasus’s covert surveillance.

Zero-Click: A Stealthy Intrusion

The pinnacle of Pegasus’s subterfuge is the “Zero-Click” attack vector. Unlike other methods, “Zero-Click” requires no user interaction whatsoever. It preys upon deep-seated operating system vulnerabilities. Pegasus slips in unnoticed, operating in the shadows, and evading all user alerts.

The Stealth Within Pegasus: An Unseen Hand

Pegasus’s ability to infiltrate devices without leaving a trace raises profound concerns regarding detection and defense. Victims may remain oblivious to their compromised status, and traditional security measures struggle to counteract this stealthy foe.

Pegasus Continues to Threaten iPhone User Privacy and Security

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital security, the Pegasus spyware remains a significant threat to iPhone users’ privacy and security. Despite Apple’s rigorous efforts to enhance iOS safeguards, the sophisticated surveillance tool developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group has continually adapted, finding new ways to infiltrate the defenses of one of the world’s most popular smartphones.

Apple’s Proactive Measures Against Pegasus

Apple has been at the forefront of the battle against cyber threats, releasing timely security updates and patches aimed at thwarting Pegasus’s advanced techniques. The company’s commitment to user privacy has led to the development of new security features designed to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access. However, the dynamic nature of cyber threats, exemplified by Pegasus, poses an ongoing challenge to even the most secure platforms.

The Impact on iPhone Users

For iPhone users, the threat of Pegasus spyware is more than just a privacy concern; it’s a direct attack on their freedom of expression and the security of their personal data. The ability of Pegasus to covertly monitor conversations, access encrypted messages, and even activate cameras and microphones without consent has raised alarms worldwide. This level of surveillance capability not only endangers individual users but also threatens the integrity of global communications networks.

Recent Revelations in Jordan Amplify Global Pegasus Concerns

In 2024, shocking reports emerged, spotlighting Jordan’s use of Pegasus against journalists and activists. This development underscores the pervasive reach of NSO Group’s spyware. Allegedly, the Jordanian authorities targeted individuals crucial to civil society. These actions have stoked fears about privacy invasions and press freedom suppression. Amidst Israel-Jordan tensions, this move signals a worrying trend of using cyberweapons to stifle dissent. Consequently, global watchdogs are calling for stringent controls on spyware sales and usage. This incident not only highlights the urgent need for robust digital rights protections but also raises significant ethical questions about surveillance technologies’ global impact.

India’s Pegasus Scandal: A Deep Dive into Surveillance and Democracy

The year 2023 brought to light India’s alleged surveillance of journalists and opposition figures using Pegasus. This revelation has sparked a nationwide debate on privacy, press freedom, and democratic values. High-profile journalists and political dissenters reportedly fell victim to this covert tool, leading to widespread condemnation. Despite government denials and a lack of cooperation with Supreme Court probes, the issue remains unresolved. Such use of Pegasus not only threatens individual freedoms but also undermines the very fabric of democratic societies. As countries grapple with the dual use of surveillance technologies, the call for transparent, regulated, and ethical practices has never been louder. This situation serves as a crucial reminder of the delicate balance between national security and personal liberties.

How Pegasus spied on the Catalan independence movement and the Spanish government

Pegasus, a powerful spyware designed by the NSO Group, has the capability to clandestinely monitor and steal data and activities from mobile phones. A consortium of international media outlets exposed the fact that numerous countries have employed Pegasus to conduct surveillance on various individuals, including political figures, journalists, human rights activists, and political opponents.

In Spain, the Pegasus scandal unfolded, implicating over 60 individuals associated with the Catalan independence movement. According to a report from Citizen Lab, Pegasus was utilized to target these individuals between 2017 and 2020. In an alarming twist, the Spanish government itself accused Pegasus of spying on its own officials in 2021.

The Catalan independence movement under surveillance

The Catalan independence movement represents a political and social endeavor that aims to secure Catalonia’s independence from Spain. This movement gained significant momentum in 2017 when the Catalan government conducted an unauthorized referendum on self-determination. In response, the Spanish government took action by suspending Catalonia’s autonomy and apprehending several of its leaders.

Citizen Lab’s report revealed that Pegasus had specifically targeted more than 60 individuals associated with the Catalan independence movement from 2017 to 2020. This list includes notable figures such as three presidents of the Generalitat of Catalonia: Artur Mas, Quim Torra, and Pere Aragonès. These individuals have taken legal action, filing a complaint against Paz Esteban and the NSO Group. Paz Esteban serves as the director of CNI, Spain’s intelligence service.

Additional alleged victims encompass Members of the European Parliament, lawyers, journalists, and activists. For example, Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia who sought refuge in Belgium following the referendum, was also subjected to Pegasus surveillance. The list further includes Roger Torrent, the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, and Jordi Cañas, a pro-union Member of the European Parliament.

The Spanish government under attack

The situation escalated in significance when the Spanish government disclosed that Pegasus had also surveilled its own officials in 2021. The government attributed this to an “external attack” but refrained from identifying the perpetrators. Various media outlets hinted at the possibility of Moroccan involvement, occurring against the backdrop of a diplomatic standoff between the two nations.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles were among the primary targets. In February 2021, while on an official visit to Morocco, their mobile phones fell victim to Pegasus infections8. This compromise allowed the spyware access to their messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, and camera.

Additionally, Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya and Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska faced Pegasus surveillance in May 2021. This intrusion occurred during their management of a migration crisis in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa that witnessed a mass influx of Moroccan migrants.

The outcry of the victims

Those who have potentially or definitively fallen victim to Pegasus expressed their outrage and concerns surrounding this spying scandal. They vehemently decried it as a grave infringement upon their fundamental rights and vociferously demanded both explanations and accountability. Furthermore, they sought access to the findings of the judicial investigation and the data collected by the spyware.

For example, Quim Torra expressed feeling “violated” and “humiliated” by the intrusive spying. He squarely pointed fingers at the Spanish state and demanded an apology from Prime Minister Sánchez. Torra also declared his intent to pursue legal action against NSO Group and CNI.

Likewise, Pedro Sánchez conveyed his profound worry and anger regarding the spying. He committed to seeking clarifications from Morocco and Israel while simultaneously reinforcing his government’s cybersecurity measures.

What are the consequences of the spying?

Spying by Pegasus inflicted severe consequences on the victims, as well as society and democracy. It violated the victims’ right to privacy, freedom of expression, freedom of information, and presumption of innocence. Additionally, it jeopardized the security, reputation, and well-being of the victims.

Pegasus’ spying activities also eroded trust and cooperation among various actors and institutions. It fostered an atmosphere of suspicion and hostility between Spain and Morocco, neighboring countries with historical and economic ties. Furthermore, it deepened divisions between Madrid and Barcelona, two regions with political and cultural distinctions. The spying undermined the credibility and legitimacy of the Spanish government and its intelligence service.

Moreover, Pegasus’ spying efforts raised awareness and concerns regarding the dangers and abuses of cyber-surveillance. It revealed the lack of control and accountability over the use of spyware by governments and private companies. The spying underscored the necessity for enhanced protection and regulation for human rights defenders, journalists, activists, and other vulnerable groups.

The cost of Pegasus by country: an estimation based on the available sources

NSO Group, an Israeli company specialized in cyber-surveillance, developed Pegasus, a spyware capable of infecting smartphones and accessing their data, including messages, photos, contacts, and location. Pegasus can also activate the microphone and camera of the phone, effectively turning it into a spying tool. But how much does it cost to use Pegasus? And which countries can afford it? This section will attempt to answer these questions based on the available information.

Firstly, the cost of using Pegasus depends on several factors, such as the number of phones targeted, the duration of surveillance, and the type of contract signed with NSO Group. According to The Guardian’s estimate, which relies on internal documents from NSO Group dating back to 2016, a license to monitor 50 smartphones cost 20.7 million euros per year at that time. Similarly, a license for monitoring 100 smartphones cost 41.4 million euros per year. It remains uncertain whether these prices have changed since 2016 or if NSO Group has offered discounts or rebates to certain clients.

Subsequently, the estimated cost of Pegasus by country derives from the number of phones targeted and the operation’s duration, using the average cost provided by The Guardian. These data are approximations and may vary depending on the sources. For instance, Saudi Arabia targeted approximately 15,000 numbers with Pegasus, according to Le Monde, but The Washington Post suggests a figure of 10,000. Likewise, Le Monde indicates that Morocco commenced using Pegasus in 2017, whereas Citizen Lab asserts it was in 2016.

Here is a summary table of the estimates of the cost of Pegasus by country:

Country Number of Phones Targeted Duration of Operation (years) Estimated Cost (in millions of euros)
Spain 60 6 248.4
Saudi Arabia 10 000 5 2070
Azerbaijan 5 000 4 828
Bahrain 3 000 3 372.6
Kazakhstan 1 500 2 124.2
Mexico 15 000 2 1242
Morocco 10 000 5 2070
Rwanda 3 500 4 579.6
Hungary 300 4 49.8
India 1 000 3 124.2
United Arab Emirates 10 000 5 2070

Finally, the total estimated cost of Pegasus for these ten countries would be about 10.5 billion euros over a period of five years.

The cost of Pegasus compared to other indicators

In addition to these estimates, we can also compare the cost of Pegasus with other indicators or expenditures, such as the average income or the budget of a country. This can help us to gain insight into the scale and impact of Pegasus.

For instance, according to Statista, Spain’s average annual income per capita in 2020 was $30,722. El País reported the budget of the Spanish Intelligence Agency (CNI) to be $331 million in 2020, while El Mundo stated that Catalonia’s budget was $40 billion in the same year.

Here is a summary table of the data:

Source Estimated Cost of Pegasus
Le Monde $7 to $20 million per year for 50 to 100 smartphones
TEHTRIS $9 million for 10 targets, $650,000 for a single target
Alain Jourdan $500 million for Spain (Source credibility unclear)
Average Income in Spain (2020) $30,722 per year
Budget of CNI (Spanish Intelligence Agency, 2020) $331 million
Budget of Catalonia (2020) $40 billion

The table demonstrates that Pegasus costs are very high compared to other indicators or expenditures. For instance, according to our previous estimation in the preceding section, Spain would have expended about 248.4 million euros over six years to monitor 60 phones with Pegasus. This amount equals approximately 8 times the budget of the Spanish Intelligence Agency (CNI) in 2020 or about 6% of Catalonia’s budget in the same year. Furthermore, this sum is equivalent to about 8,000 times the average annual income per capita in Spain in 2020.

In conclusion comparison

This comparison highlights that Pegasus represents a significant expense for its users, funds that could have been allocated to other purposes or needs. Moreover, it emphasizes the disproportionate nature of Pegasus costs concerning its victims, often ordinary citizens or government employees.

Assessing the cost of Pegasus with certainty is challenging because it depends on several factors, such as the number of phones targeted, the duration of surveillance, and the type of contract NSO Group signed. To obtain a clearer and more comprehensive view of the cost and scope of Pegasus use, access to NSO Group’s and its clients’ internal data would be necessary.

Statistics on Pegasus: a glimpse into the scale and diversity of Pegasus espionage

NSO Group, an Israeli company specialized in cyber-surveillance, developed Pegasus, a spyware. Pegasus can infect smartphones and access their data, such as messages, photos, contacts, and location. Pegasus can also activate the microphone and camera of the phone, turning it into a spying tool.

But who are the victims of Pegasus? And how many are they? In this section, we will present some statistics based on the available data.

It is important to note that these statistics are not comprehensive, as a sample of 50,000 phone numbers selected by NSO Group’s clients as potential targets forms the basis for them. Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained this sample and shared it with a consortium of media outlets that conducted an investigation. The actual number of Pegasus targets may be much higher, as NSO Group claims to have more than 60 clients in 40 countries.

According to The Guardian’s analysis of the sample:

  • More than 1,000 individuals in 50 different countries have been confirmed as successfully infected with Pegasus.
  • Over 600 politicians and government officials, including heads of state, prime ministers, and cabinet ministers, were identified as potential targets.
  • More than 180 journalists working for prominent media outlets like CNN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, or Le Monde were selected as potential targets.
  • Over 85 human rights activists, including members of organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, were identified as potential targets.

According to Le Monde’s analysis of the same sample:

  • Morocco selected more than 15,000 individuals as potential targets between 2017 and 2019.
  • Mexico selected over 10,000 potential targets between 2016 and 2017.
  • Saudi Arabia selected more than 1,400 potential targets between 2016 and 2019.
  • India selected over 800 potential targets between 2017 and 2019.

Here is a summary table of the key findings from both sources:

Data Source Key Findings
The Guardian (Sample of 50,000 Numbers) Over:

  • 1,000 infections in 50 countries
  • 600 politicians and government officials targeted
  • 180 journalists selected as potential targets
  • 85 human rights activists identified as potential targets
Le Monde (Sample of 50,000 Numbers) Over:

  • 15,000 potential targets in Morocco (2017-2019)
  • 10,000 potential targets in Mexico (2016-2017)
  • 1,400 potential targets in Saudi Arabia (2016-2019)
  • 800 potential targets in India (2017-2019)

These statistics reveal Pegasus surveillance’s extensive reach and diversity, affecting a wide range of individuals and countries with varying motivations and interests. Moreover, they show that Pegasus surveillance has been ongoing for several years without anyone detecting or stopping it.

In conclusion, these statistics provide a glimpse into the scale and diversity of Pegasus espionage. However, they are not exhaustive and may not fully reflect the true extent of Pegasus surveillance. To have a clearer and more complete picture of the victims and the consequences of Pegasus, access to the internal data of NSO Group and its clients would be necessary.

Pegasus Datasheet: a summary of the features and capabilities of Pegasus spyware

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, designed for remote monitoring of mobile phone activities. Pegasus can infect smartphones and access their data, such as messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, and camera. Pegasus can also control some functions of the phone, such as enabling or disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more. Pegasus can infect phones through different methods, such as malicious link delivery or the insidious “zero-click” technique, which does not require any user interaction. The duration and frequency of Pegasus surveillance depend on the contract signed with NSO Group, which can vary from client to client.

Below is a datasheet detailing Pegasus, including price estimates and periodicity:

CHARACTERISTIC VALUE ATTACK VECTOR
Name Pegasus  
Developer NSO Group  
Type Spyware  
Function Remote monitoring of mobile phone activities  
Infection Method Malicious link delivery or the insidious “zero-click” technique Email, SMS, Web Browsing, WhatsApp, Zero-Click
Data Access Messages, calls, contacts, photos, videos, location, microphone, camera  
Function Access Capable of enabling/disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more  
Periodicity Varied, dependent on contract duration and frequency of updates  
Price Estimate $7 to $20 million per year for 50 to 100 smartphones

Assessing the Pegasus Threat Level After Security Updates and Utilizing Anti-Pegasus Tools

Pegasus is a spyware that exploits security flaws in the operating systems of phones, such as iOS or Android. To reduce the level of threat of Pegasus, one of the ways is to update and patch these operating systems regularly, to fix the vulnerabilities that Pegasus can use.

How security updates can protect the devices from Pegasus

In September 2021, Apple released iOS 14.8 and macOS 11.6 as security updates to protect its devices from the zero-click exploit used by Pegasus. Citizen Lab discovered this exploit, called FORCEDENTRY, in August 2021. FORCEDENTRY allowed Pegasus to infect iPhones without any user interaction. Apple urged its users to install the updates as soon as possible to protect themselves from Pegasus.

Google also released security updates for Android devices in August 2021, according to Linternaute. These updates fixed several vulnerabilities that Pegasus or other spyware could exploit. Google did not specify if these vulnerabilities were related to Pegasus, but it advised its users to update their devices regularly to ensure their security.

However, updating and patching the operating systems may not be enough to prevent or detect Pegasus infections. Pegasus can adapt to security updates and use new exploits that security experts have not yet discovered or fixed.

Advanced Detection and Protection Against Pegasus Spyware

In the ongoing effort to combat the sophisticated Pegasus spyware, cybersecurity experts have developed advanced tools and methods to detect and neutralize such threats. Kaspersky, a leader in global cybersecurity, has recently unveiled a groundbreaking approach that enhances our capability to identify and mitigate the impact of iOS spyware including Pegasus, as well as newer threats like Reign and Predator.

Kaspersky’s Innovative Detection Method

Leveraging the untapped potential of forensic artifacts, Kaspersky’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) has introduced a lightweight yet powerful method to detect signs of sophisticated spyware infections. By analyzing the Shutdown.log found within the iOS sysdiagnose archive, researchers can now identify anomalies indicative of a Pegasus infection, such as unusual “sticky” processes. This method provides a minimally intrusive, resource-efficient way to pinpoint potential spyware compromises.

Empowering Users with Self-Check Capabilities

To democratize the fight against spyware, Kaspersky has developed a self-check tool available to the public. This utility, based on Python3 scripts, allows users to independently extract, analyze, and interpret data from the Shutdown.log file. Compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux, this tool offers a practical solution for users to assess their devices’ integrity.

Comprehensive User Protection Strategies

Beyond detection, protecting devices from sophisticated spyware demands a multifaceted approach. Kaspersky recommends several proactive measures to enhance device security:

  • Reboot Daily: Regular reboots can disrupt the persistence mechanisms of spyware like Pegasus, which often relies on zero-click vulnerabilities for infection.
  • Enable Lockdown Mode: Apple’s Lockdown Mode has shown effectiveness in thwarting malware infections by minimizing the attack surface available to potential exploiters.
  • Disable iMessage and Facetime: Given their popularity as vectors for exploitation, disabling these services can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
  • Stay Updated: Promptly installing the latest iOS updates ensures that known vulnerabilities are patched, closing off avenues for spyware exploitation.
  • Exercise Caution with Links: Avoid clicking on unsolicited links, a common method for delivering spyware through social engineering tactics.
  • Regular Checks: Utilizing tools like MVT (Mobile Verification Toolkit) and Kaspersky’s utilities to analyze backups and sysdiagnose archives can aid in early detection of malware.

By integrating these practices, users can significantly bolster their defenses against the most advanced spyware, reducing the likelihood of successful infiltration and ensuring greater digital security and privacy.

Technological Innovations in Spyware Defense: The Case of DataShielder NFC HSM

As nations grapple with policy measures to regulate the use of commercial spyware, technological innovators like Freemindtronic are stepping up to offer robust defenses for individuals against invasive tools like Pegasus. The DataShielder NFC HSM Defense, equipped with EviCore NFC HSM technology, represents a leap forward in personal cybersecurity, offering a suite of features designed to safeguard data and communications from sophisticated spyware threats.

DataShielder NFC HSM: A Closer Look

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense utilizes contactless encryption and segmented key authentication, securely stored within an NFC HSM, to protect users’ digital lives. This groundbreaking approach ensures that secret keys, the cornerstone of digital security, remain out of reach from spyware, thus maintaining the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information across various communication protocols.

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense: a solution against spyware

Another technology can help users protect themselves from Pegasus and other spyware. This is DataShielder NFC HSM Defense with EviCore NFC HSM, a solution that effectively fights against applications and spyware such as Pegasus. It is an alternative that secures contactless encryption and segmented key authentication system stored encrypted in NFC HSM. Thus, the secret keys are physically externalized and not accessible to the spyware. DataShielder NFC HSM Defense with EviCypher NFC HSM encrypts all types of sensitive data without ever logging the data unencrypted. The user can encrypt all types of data from his contactless phone in volatile memory, including Email, SMS, MMS, RCS, Chat, all messaging in general, all types of messaging, including satellite, without ever saving his texts unencrypted. DataShielder NFC HSM also works in air gap as well as on all types of NFC, Wifi, Bluetooth, Lan, Wan, Camera communication protocols that it encrypts end-to-end from NFC HSM

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense: additional features

In the Defense version of DataShielder NFC HSM, it integrates EviCall NFC HSM technology, which allows users to physically outsource phone contacts and make calls by automatically erasing the call histories of the phone, including encrypted and unencrypted SMS linked to that call number.

DataShielder NFC HSM also includes Evipass NFC HSM contactless password manager technology. It is therefore compatible with EviCore NFC HSM Browser Extension technology. In particular, it carries out all types of autofill and autologin operations. Thus, DataShielder NFC HSM not only allows you to connect by autofilling the traditional login and password identification fields on the phone, whether through applications or online accounts. But also also and on the types of online accounts (lan and wan), applications, software. DataShielder NFC HSM Defense also includes EviKeyboard BLE technology which also extends the use of keys greater than 256 bit. This virtual Bluetooth keyboard allows you to authenticate on the command line, on all types of home automation, electronic, motherboard bios, TMP2.0 key, which accepts the connection of a keyboard on a USB port. All these operations are end-to-end encrypted from NFC HSM up to more than 50 meters away via Bluetooth encrypted in AES-128.

To encrypt sensitive data from their phone, the user will do it from their secret keys only stored in their NFC HSM. They can also do it from their computer using the NFC HSM. This is possible thanks to the interoperability and backward compatibility of the DataShielder NFC HSM Defense ecosystem, which works independently but is interoperable on all Android computer and telephone systems with NFC technology. For example, users can encrypt files, photos, videos, and audio on their phones without ever exposing them to security breaches on the phone or computer.

This is the EviCypher NFC HSM technology dedicated to the encryption and management of AES 256 and RSA 4096 encryption keys.

Similarly, DataShielder also includes EviOTP NFC HSM technology, also in DataShielder NFC HSM Defense, which secures and manages OTP (TOTP and HOTP) secret keys.

Here are all the links : EviPass NFC HSMEviOTP NFC HSMEviCypher NFC HSMEviCall NFC HSM, EviKeyboard BLE

DataShielder NFC HSM Defense vs Pegasus: a comparison table

Data Pegasus DataShielder NFC HSM Defense
Messages, chats Can read and record them unencrypted Encrypts them end-to-end with keys physically externalized in the NFC HSM
Phone contacts Can access and modify them Externalizes and encrypts them in the NFC HSM
Emails Can intercept and read them Encrypts them with the OpenPGP protocol and signs them with the NFC HSM
Photos Can access and copy them Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and stores them in a secure space
Videos Can watch and record them Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and stores them in a secure space
Encrypted messages scanned from the camera Can decrypt them if he has access to the encryption key Encrypts them with the NFC HSM and does not leave any trace of the encryption key
Conversation histories from contacts stored in the NFC HSM Can access and analyze them Erases them automatically after each call or message
Usernames and passwords Can steal and use them Externalizes and encrypts them in the NFC HSM with EviPass technology
Secret keys of OTP Can compromise and impersonate them Externalizes them physically in the NFC HSM with EviOTP technology

Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Privacy

In an era where spyware like Pegasus poses unprecedented threats to personal privacy and security, solutions like DataShielder NFC HSM Defense emerge as essential tools in the individual’s cybersecurity arsenal. By leveraging such technologies, users can significantly mitigate the risk of spyware infections, reinforcing the sanctity of digital privacy in the face of evolving surveillance tactics.

The level of threat of Pegasus in different cases

The level of threat of Pegasus depends on many factors, such as the type and version of the operating system, the frequency and quality of the updates and patches, the availability and effectiveness of the tools, and the behavior and awareness of the users. It is therefore difficult to measure it precisely or universally, as it may vary according to different scenarios and situations.

However, we can try to give some estimates or ranges of levels, based on assumptions or approximations. For example, we can use a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) to indicate how likely it is for a device to be infected by Pegasus in different cases:

Case Level of threat
A device with an outdated operating system that has not been updated for a long time 9/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently 5/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software 3/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software and VPN software 2/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses antivirus software, VPN software, and anti-spyware software 1/10
A device with an updated operating system that has been patched recently and uses DataShielder NFC HSM 0/10

Latest affairs related to Pegasus

Since the revelations of Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International in July 2021, several new developments have occurred in relation to Pegasus spying. Here are some of them:

  • October 2023, The former head of the Spanish intelligence services has been charged with spying on the regional president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, using the Pegasus software, the Spanish justice announced on Monday. Paz Esteban, who was dismissed last year by the government of Pedro Sánchez after the scandal broke out, has been summoned by the Barcelona judge in charge of the case on December 131. The judge said that the facts reported by the moderate separatist leader have the “characteristics” of “possible criminal offenses such as illegal wiretapping and computer espionage
  • In October 2021, Paz Esteban López, the former head of CNI, was charged with crimes against privacy and misuse of public funds for allegedly ordering the spying on Catalan politicians with Pegasus. She is the first high-ranking official to face legal consequences for using Pegasus in Spain.
  • In September 2021, NSO Group announced that it was temporarily suspending its services to several government clients after being accused of facilitating human rights abuses with Pegasus. The company did not specify which clients were affected by this decision.
  • In August 2021, Apple released an urgent security update for its devices after discovering a zero-click exploit that allowed Pegasus to infect iPhones without any user interaction. The exploit, called FORCEDENTRY, was used by NSO Group to target activists, journalists and lawyers around the world. Apple urged its users to install the update as soon as possible to protect themselves from Pegasus.
  • In July 2021, the French government launched an investigation into the alleged spying on President Emmanuel Macron and other senior officials by Morocco using Pegasus. Morocco denied any involvement in the spying and sued Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories for defamation. France also summoned the Israeli ambassador to Paris to demand explanations about NSO Group’s activities.
  • In July 2021, the Israeli government formed a task force to review the allegations against NSO Group and its export licenses. The task force included representatives from the defense, justice and foreign ministries, as well as from the Mossad and the Shin Bet. The task force was expected to report its findings within a few weeks.

These developments show that Pegasus spying has triggered legal, diplomatic and political reactions in different countries. They also show that Pegasus spying has exposed the vulnerabilities and the challenges of cybersecurity in the digital age.

International Policy Measures Against Spyware Misuse

In a landmark move reflecting growing global concern over the misuse of commercial spyware, the United States announced in February 2024 its decision to impose visa restrictions on individuals involved in the abuse of such technologies. This policy, aimed at curbing the proliferation of weapons-grade commercial spyware like Pegasus, marks a significant stride in international efforts to safeguard against digital espionage threats to national security, privacy, and human rights.

The US Stance on Spyware Regulation

The Biden administration’s policy will potentially impact major US allies, including Israel, India, Jordan, and Hungary, underscoring the administration’s commitment to countering the misuse of spyware. This comes on the heels of earlier measures, such as placing Israel’s NSO Group on a commerce department blacklist and prohibiting the US government’s use of commercial spyware, signaling a robust stance against the unregulated spread of spyware technologies.

Global Implications and Diplomatic Efforts

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement linking the misuse of spyware to severe human rights violations highlights the gravity with which the US views the global spyware issue. The policy introduces a mechanism for enforcing visa restrictions on those believed to be involved in or benefiting from the misuse of spyware, sending a strong message about the US’s intolerance for such practices.

A Step Towards Greater Accountability

By targeting individuals involved in the surveillance, harassment, and intimidation of journalists, activists, and dissenters, the US aims to foster a more accountable and ethical global spyware industry. This visa ban, applicable even to individuals from visa waiver countries, represents an “important signal” about the risks associated with the spyware sector, emphasizing the need for international cooperation in addressing these challenges.

Spyware with multiple detrimental impacts

Pegasus is not only a spyware with a high financial cost for its users, but it also entails, whether it is used legitimately or not, a human, social, political and environmental cost for its victims and society as a whole. It is difficult to precisely quantify the cost of the damages caused by the use of Pegasus due to numerous factors and variables that can vary across countries, sectors and periods. However, we can provide some rough estimates and examples to illustrate the scope and diversity of the impacts of the use of Pegasus.

Financial Cost

The financial cost of the damages inflicted by Pegasus can be measured on several fronts:

  • Cost to Victims: Individuals spied on by Pegasus may suffer direct or indirect financial losses, stemming from breaches of their privacy, disclosure of personal or professional information, manipulation, or theft of their financial or tax-related data. For example, a journalist might lose their job or credibility due to information revealed by Pegasus; a lawyer could lose a lawsuit or a client due to a disclosed strategy, and an activist might lose funding or security due to an exposed campaign.
  • Cost to Businesses: Companies targeted by Pegasus may face direct or indirect financial losses related to intellectual property violation, unfair competition, industrial espionage, corruption, and more. For instance, a business could lose a contract or market share because of exposed bids; its reputation and trustworthiness could suffer due to a Pegasus-related scandal, and its competitiveness and profitability could diminish from a compromised trade secret.
  • Cost to States: Nations subject to Pegasus espionage may experience direct or indirect financial losses tied to sovereignty violations, threats to national security, interference in domestic and foreign affairs, among others. An example includes a country’s stability or legitimacy being jeopardized due to a Pegasus-facilitated coup; a nation losing influence or alliances because of negotiations undermined by Pegasus; or a state’s development or environment suffering from a Pegasus-sabotaged project.

Geopolitical Cost

The geopolitical cost of Pegasus-induced damages can be measured on various fronts:

  • Cost to International Relations: The use of Pegasus by some states to spy on others can lead to diplomatic tensions, armed conflicts, economic sanctions, and cooperation ruptures. For example, the espionage of French President Emmanuel Macron by Morocco triggered a crisis between the two nations; spying on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by China escalated their border dispute, and Israeli espionage of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani compromised the nuclear agreement between the two countries.
  • Cost to International Organizations: Pegasus’ deployment by certain states to spy on international organizations can result in violations of international law, human rights abuses, and hindrances to multilateralism. For instance, spying on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by the United States undermined the organization’s independence and impartiality. Similarly, espionage targeting the International Criminal Court by Israel threatened international justice and peace, while spying on the World Health Organization by China disrupted pandemic management.

Economic Cost

The economic cost of the damages caused by Pegasus can be assessed across different dimensions:

  • Cost to Economic Growth: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on other states or private actors can lead to market distortions, productivity losses, capital flight, and offshoring. For example, the espionage targeting the airline company Emirates by Qatar reduced its competitiveness and profitability. Similarly, spying on the oil company Petrobras by the United States triggered an economic and political crisis in Brazil. Additionally, spying on Mexico’s central bank by Venezuela facilitated money laundering and terrorism financing.
  • Cost to Innovation: The utilization of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on other states or private actors can result in patent theft, counterfeiting, hacking, and cyberattacks. For instance, spying on pharmaceutical company Pfizer by China allowed the latter to replicate its COVID-19 vaccine. Simultaneously, espionage against technology giant Apple by North Korea enabled the creation of its smartphone. Furthermore, spying on space company SpaceX by Russia allowed the latter to sabotage its launches.

Human, Social, and Environmental Cost

The human, social, and environmental cost of Pegasus-induced damages can be measured across several aspects:

  • Cost to Human Rights: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on vulnerable individuals or groups can result in violations of the right to life, freedom, security, dignity, and more. For example, the spying on journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia led to his assassination. Similarly, espionage targeting activist Edward Snowden by the United States led to his exile. Additionally, the espionage of dissident Alexei Navalny by Russia resulted in his poisoning.
  • Cost to Democracy: The deployment of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on political or social actors can lead to infringements on pluralism, transparency, participation, representativeness, and more. For instance, spying on French President Emmanuel Macron by Russia attempted to influence the 2017 French presidential election. Similarly, spying on the Yellow Vest movement by Morocco aimed to weaken the French social movement in 2018. Additionally, espionage against President Joe Biden by Iran sought to infiltrate his transition team in 2020.
  • Cost to the Environment: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on organizations or individuals committed to environmental protection can result in damage to biodiversity, climate, natural resources, and more. For example, spying on Greenpeace by Japan hindered its efforts against whale hunting. Similarly, espionage against the WWF by Brazil facilitated deforestation in the Amazon. Additionally, the spying on climate activist Greta Thunberg by Russia aimed to discredit her climate movement.
  • Cost to Intangibles: The use of Pegasus by certain states or private actors to spy on individuals or groups with symbolic, cultural, moral, or spiritual value can result in losses of meaning, trust, hope, or faith. For instance, espionage against Pope Francis by Turkey undermined his moral and religious authority. Similarly, spying on the Dalai Lama by China compromised his spiritual and political status. Additionally, the espionage of Nelson Mandela by South Africa tarnished his historical and humanitarian legacy.

The Risk of Diplomatic Conflict Arising from Pegasus

The utilization of Pegasus by some states to spy on others can give rise to the risk of diplomatic conflict, which can have severe consequences for international peace and security. The likelihood of diplomatic conflict depends on several factors, including:

  • Intensity and Duration of Espionage: The more extensive and prolonged the espionage, the more likely it is to provoke a strong and lasting reaction from the spied-upon state.
  • Nature and Status of Targets: More important and sensitive targets are more likely to trigger a strong and immediate reaction from the spied-upon state. For instance, spying on a head of state or a minister is more serious than spying on a bureaucrat or diplomat.
  • Relationship and Context Between States: States with tense or conflictual relationships are more likely to provoke a strong and hostile reaction from the spied-upon state. For instance, espionage between rival or enemy states is more serious than espionage between allied or neutral states.

The risk of diplomatic conflict can manifest at various levels:

  • Bilateral Level: This is the most direct and frequent level, where two states clash due to espionage. Possible reactions include official protests, summoning or expelling an ambassador, breaking or freezing diplomatic relations, etc.
  • Regional Level: This level involves a state seeking support from its neighbors or regional partners to bolster its position or condemn the espionage. Possible reactions include joint declarations, collective resolutions, economic or political sanctions, etc.
  • International Level: At this level, a state calls upon international organizations or global actors to support its position or condemn the espionage. Possible reactions include referring the matter to an international court, resolutions by the UN Security Council, humanitarian or military sanctions, etc.

The risk of diplomatic conflict can have various consequences:

  • Political Consequences: It can lead to a deterioration or rupture of relations between the involved states, a loss of credibility or legitimacy on the international stage, internal political instability or crisis, etc.
  • Economic Consequences: It can result in reduced or suspended trade between the involved states, a loss of competitiveness or growth, capital flight or frozen investments, etc.
  • Social Consequences: It can lead to increased or exacerbated tensions or violence among the populations of the involved states, a loss of trust or solidarity, a rise or reinforcement of nationalism or extremism, etc.

Conclusion: Navigating the Pegasus Quagmire with Innovative Defenses

The saga of Pegasus spyware unveils a complex tableau of financial, human, social, political, and environmental ramifications. Pinpointing the exact toll it takes presents a formidable challenge, given the myriad of factors at play. Throughout this article, we’ve endeavored to shed light on the extensive impacts, offering insights and quantifications to bring clarity to this global concern.

Moreover, Pegasus not only incurs a direct cost but also sows the seeds of potential diplomatic strife, pitting states against each other in an invisible battlefield. The severity of these confrontations hinges on the espionage’s scope, the targets’ sensitivity, and the intricate web of international relations. Such conflicts, manifesting across various levels, can significantly strain political ties, disrupt economies, and fracture societies.

In this digital quagmire, the innovative counter-espionage technologies developed by Freemindtronic emerge as a beacon of hope. They offer a testament to the power of leveraging cutting-edge solutions to fortify our digital defenses against the invasive reach of spyware like Pegasus. By integrating such advanced protective measures, individuals and organizations can significantly enhance their cybersecurity posture, safeguarding their most sensitive data and communications in an increasingly surveilled world.

This piece aims to illuminate the shadowy dynamics of Pegasus spyware, drawing back the curtain on its profound implications. For those keen to explore further, we invite you to consult the sources listed below. They serve as gateways to a deeper understanding of Pegasus’s pervasive influence, the ongoing efforts to counteract its invasive reach, and the pivotal role of technologies like those from Freemindtronic in these endeavors.

In a world where digital surveillance perpetually evolves, staying informed, vigilant, and equipped with the latest in counter-espionage technology is paramount. As we navigate these challenges, let us engage in ongoing dialogue, advocate for stringent regulatory measures, and champion the development of robust cybersecurity defenses. Together, we can confront the challenges posed by Pegasus and similar technologies, safeguarding our collective privacy, security, and democratic values in the digital age.

Sources

In crafting this article, we have drawn upon a selection of reputable and verified web sources. Our sources are chosen for their commitment to presenting facts objectively and respecting the presumption of innocence.

This article has been meticulously crafted, drawing upon a diverse array of reputable and verified web sources. These sources have been selected for their unwavering commitment to factual accuracy, objective presentation, and respect for the presumption of innocence. Our investigation delves deep into the complex web of surveillance technology, focusing on the notorious Pegasus spyware developed by NSO Group and the global efforts to detect, regulate, and mitigate its invasive reach. The article sheds light on groundbreaking detection methods, international policy measures against spyware misuse, and the pressing need for enhanced cybersecurity practices.

We analyzed many sources including:

In summary

Additional references from a range of international publications provide further insights into the deployment, implications, and countermeasures associated with Pegasus spyware across various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Hungary, India, and the United Arab Emirates. These articles collectively highlight the global challenge posed by Pegasus, the evolving landscape of digital espionage, and the concerted efforts required to safeguard privacy and security in the digital age.

Estimating the Global Reach and Financial Implications of Pegasus Spyware

The deployment of Pegasus spyware across various nations reveals not only the extensive reach of NSO Group’s surveillance tool but also underscores the significant financial and ethical costs associated with its use. The following insights, derived from reputable news sources, offer a glimpse into the scale of Pegasus’s deployment worldwide and its impact on targeted countries:

  1. According to the French Le Monde, Saudi Arabia targeted about 15,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The cost of one license can be as high as Rs 70 lakh. With one license, multiple smartphones can be tracked. As per past estimates of 2016, for spying on just 10 people using Pegasus, NSO Group charges a minimum of around Rs 9 crore.
  2. The American The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia started using Pegasus in 2018. The FBI also confirmed that it obtained NSO Group’s powerful Pegasus spyware in 2019, suggesting that it bought access to the Israeli surveillance tool to “stay abreast of emerging technologies and tradecraft”.
  3. The British The Guardian stated that Azerbaijan aimed at about 5,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is among the 10 governments that have been the most aggressive in deploying the spyware against their own citizens and those of other countries.
  4. As per the American The Washington Post, Azerbaijan began using Pegasus in 2019. The country has been accused of using the spyware to target journalists, activists, and opposition figures, as well as foreign diplomats and politicians.
  5. In the case reported by the French Le Monde, Bahrain focused on about 3,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware since 2020 to target dissidents, human rights defenders, and members of the royal family.
  6. Mentioned in the American The Washington Post, Bahrain initiated Pegasus use in 2020. The country is one of the NSO Group’s oldest customers, having signed a contract with the company in 2016.
  7. As disclosed by the British The Guardian, Kazakhstan directed attention towards approximately 1,500 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware since 2021 to target journalists, activists, and opposition figures, as well as foreign diplomats and politicians.
  8. According to the American The Washington Post, Kazakhstan commenced Pegasus usage in 2021. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2020.
  9. According to claims made by the Mexican Aristegui Noticias, Mexico targeted about 15,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is the largest known client of NSO Group, having spent at least $61m on the spyware between 2011 and 2017.
  10. As reported by the American The Washington Post, Mexico began Pegasus use in 2020. The country has been using the spyware to target journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as the relatives of the 43 students who disappeared in 2014.
  11. As detailed in the French Le Monde, Morocco focused on about 10,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the most prolific users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as foreign heads of state and government.
  12. Confirmed by the Canadian organization Citizen Lab, Morocco initiated Pegasus usage in 2016. The country is one of the oldest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2014.
  13. According to findings reported by the British The Guardian, Rwanda honed in on around 3,500 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country has been using the spyware to target dissidents, journalists, and human rights defenders, as well as foreign critics and rivals.
  14. As indicated by the American The Washington Post, Rwanda started Pegasus usage in 2019. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2018.
  15. In the report from the French Le Monde, Hungary aimed at about 300 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is the only EU member state known to have used the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and opposition figures.
  16. As conveyed by the Hungarian Direkt36, Hungary initiated Pegasus use in 2018. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2017.
  17. As outlined in the Indian The Wire, India directed attention towards approximately 1,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the largest users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as the leader of the main opposition party.
  18. According to the British The Guardian, India began Pegasus use in 2019. The country is one of the newest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2018.
  19. According to the information provided by the French Le Monde, the United Arab Emirates honed in on around 10,000 phone numbers with Pegasus. The country is one of the most aggressive users of the spyware, having targeted journalists, activists, lawyers, and politicians, as well as foreign heads of state and government.
  20. Confirmed by the Canadian organization Citizen Lab, the United Arab Emirates started Pegasus usage in 2016. The country is one of the oldest customers of NSO Group, having signed a contract with the company in 2013.
  21. According to the European Parliament recommendation of 15 June 2023, the EU and its Member States have been affected by the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware, which constitutes a serious threat to the rule of law, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recommendation calls for a global moratorium on the sale and use of such technologies until robust safeguards are established.
  22. According to the article by Malwarebytes, Pegasus spyware and how it exploited a WebP vulnerability, the spyware exploited a vulnerability in the WebP image format, which allows for lossless compression and restoration of pixels. The article explains how the attackers created specially crafted image files that caused a buffer overflow in the libwebp library, used by several programs and browsers to support the WebP format.
  23. According to the article by ZDNet, ‘Lawful intercept’ Pegasus spyware found deployed in 45 countries, the spyware has been used by government agencies across the world to conduct cross-border surveillance, violating international law and human rights. The article cites a report by Citizen Lab, which identified 45 countries where Pegasus operators may be conducting surveillance operations.
  24. According to the article by The Guardian, Experts warn of new spyware threat targeting journalists and political opponents, a new spyware with hacking capabilities comparable to Pegasus has emerged, developed by an Israeli company called Candiru. The article cites a report by Citizen Lab, which found evidence that the spyware has been used to target journalists, political opposition figures and an employee of an NGO.

Remote activation of phones by the police: an analysis of its technical, legal and social aspects

Remote activation of phones by the police

Remote activation of phones by the police by Jacques Gascuel This article will be updated with any new information on the topic, and readers are encouraged to leave comments or contact the author with any suggestions or additions.

How does remote activation of phones by the police work?

An article of the bill on justice 2023-2027 raises controversy. It allows remote activation of mobile phones and capture of images or sound without the owner’s consent, for cases of organized crime or terrorism. How does this intelligence technique work? What are the conditions to use it? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What is the situation in other countries? We explain everything in this article.

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What is the new bill on justice and why is it raising concerns about privacy?

The bill on justice is a legislative project. It aims to modernize and simplify justice in France. It covers civil, criminal, administrative and digital justice. It also strengthens the investigation and prosecution of serious offenses, such as terrorism and organized crime.

One measure authorizes remote activation of phones by the police for some investigations. Article 3 “An unfailing commitment to better prevent radicalization and fight against terrorism” of the bill includes this measure. It modifies article 706-102-1 of the code of criminal procedure. This article defines how to activate remotely any electronic device that can emit, transmit, receive or store data.

This measure raises privacy concerns because it lets the police access personal or professional data in phones without the owners’ or possessors’ consent or knowledge. It also lets the police locate, record or capture sounds and images from phones without notification or justification. This measure may violate fundamental rights and freedoms, such as privacy, confidentiality, dignity, presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial.

What is remote activation of phones and how does it work?

Remote activation of phones by the police is an intelligence technique that allows law enforcement agencies to access data or record sounds and images from phones without the consent or knowledge of the phone users. This technique can be used for criminal investigations or national security purposes.

To remotely activate phones, law enforcement agencies need three factors: compatibility, connectivity, and security of the phones. They need to be compatible with the software or hardware that enables remote activation. They need to be connected to a network or a device that allows remote access. They need to have security flaws or vulnerabilities that can be exploited or bypassed.

Law enforcement agencies can remotely activate phones by three methods: exploiting vulnerabilities, installing malware, or using spyware on phones. Exploiting vulnerabilities means taking advantage of security flaws or weaknesses in the phone’s operating system, applications, or protocols. Installing malware means putting malicious software on the phone that can perform unauthorized actions or functions. Using spyware means employing software or hardware that can monitor or control the phone’s activity or data.

By remotely activating phones, law enforcement agencies can access data such as contacts, messages, photos, videos, location, browsing history, or passwords. They can also record sounds and images such as conversations, ambient noises, or camera shots. They can do this in real time or later by retrieving the data from the phone’s memory or storage.

What is the French bill on remote activation of phones by the police and what are its implications?

The French bill on remote activation of phones by the police is a legislative text that was promulgated on 25 May 2021. It is part of the justice orientation and programming bill for 2023-2027, which aims to modernize the justice system and reinforce its efficiency and independence.

The bill introduces a new article in the code of criminal procedure, which allows the judge of liberties and detention (at the request of the prosecutor) or the examining magistrate to order the remote activation of an electronic device without the knowledge or consent of its owner or possessor for the sole purpose of locating it in real time. This measure can be applied for crimes or misdemeanors punishable by at least five years’ imprisonment, a fairly broad criterion.

The bill also allows the judge of liberties and detention (at the request of the prosecutor) or the examining magistrate to order the remote activation of an electronic device without the knowledge or consent of its owner or possessor for the purpose of recording sounds and images from it. This measure can be applied only for crimes relating to organized crime and terrorism.

These measures cannot concern parliamentarians, journalists, lawyers, magistrates and doctors, nor the defendants when they are in the judge’s office or with their lawyer.

The bill also specifies that the remote activation of an electronic device must be done in a way that does not alter its functioning or data, and that the data collected must be destroyed within six months after their use.

The bill aims to provide law enforcement agencies with more tools and information to prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes, especially in cases where phones are encrypted, hidden or destroyed. It also aims to harmonize the French legislation with other countries that have used or considered this technique, such as the United States, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, China, France, and the United Kingdom.

However, the bill also raises ethical and social challenges, as it involves a trade-off between security and privacy, as well as between effectiveness and legitimacy. It may undermine the right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial, which are guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the French Constitution. It may also expose law enforcement agencies to legal or technical challenges or dangers, such as encryption technologies that can prevent or hinder remote activation. It may also create distrust or resistance among phone users or providers, who may use encryption technologies or legal remedies to protect their data or communications.

The bill has been criticized by several actors, such as lawyers, human rights defenders, digital rights activists, journalists and academics. They have denounced its lack of proportionality, necessity and oversight. They have also questioned its effectiveness and legitimacy. They have called for its withdrawal or amendment.

The bill is still subject to constitutional review by the Constitutional Council before its final promulgation.

How did the Senate vote on the bill and where to find the official sources?

The Senate adopted this measure on October 20, 2021, with some amendments. The Senate voted in favor of this measure by 214 votes against 121. The Senate also added some safeguards to this measure, such as limiting its duration to four months renewable once and requiring prior authorization from an independent judge.

The National Assembly still has to examine the bill before adopting it definitively. The National Assembly may approve, reject or modify this measure. The final text may differ from the one that the Senate voted.

The examination of the bill by the National Assembly will start on December 6, 2021. You can follow the progress of the bill on the website of the National Assembly. You can also find the official text of the bill and the report of the Senate on their respective websites. You can also consult the website of the Ministry of Justice for more information on the bill and its objectives.

What are the benefits and risks of remote activation of phones?

This technique can affect citizens’ and suspects’ behavior in different ways.

On one hand, it can deter people from serious offenses. It exposes them to a higher risk of detection and identification. It reduces their incentives for criminal activities.

On the other hand, it can also make people more cautious or paranoid. It increases their uncertainty and fear. It leads them to avoid electronic devices, encrypt their communications, or use countermeasures such as jamming devices.

This technique can also impact public safety and security positively and negatively.

On one hand, it can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of law enforcement agencies. It provides them with more information and evidence. It helps them prevent, investigate and prosecute crimes.

On the other hand, it can also pose risks for human rights and civil liberties. It allows intrusive and covert surveillance. It violates privacy, confidentiality and dignity. It can also be subject to abuse, misuse or error by law enforcement agents or hackers.

Finally, it can create a feeling of insecurity and mistrust towards institutions, which can access personal or professional data in phones. It can also harm respect for presumption of innocence by placing permanent suspicion on people targeted by this technique. It can also infringe on protection of journalistic sources or right to information by discouraging whistleblowers or witnesses from speaking freely. It can finally encourage people concerned to adopt avoidance or circumvention strategies, such as changing phones regularly, using encrypted applications or switching to airplane mode.

These strategies can reduce the actual effectiveness of this technique for preventing terrorism and organized crime.

What are the arguments in favor of remote activation of phones?

Some people support this technique because they think it has several advantages for law enforcement and public security.

How can remote activation of phones violate privacy and data protection?

One of the main arguments against this technique is that it can violate privacy and data protection for individuals and groups. Privacy and data protection are fundamental rights recognized by international standards and laws. They ensure human dignity and autonomy.

Remote activation of phones violates privacy and data protection by letting law enforcement agencies access personal or professional data without the owners’ or possessors’ consent or knowledge. It also lets law enforcement agencies access sensitive or confidential data without notification or justification. It also lets law enforcement agencies access excessive or irrelevant data without limitation or proportionality.

For example, remote activation of phones could let the police access medical records, financial transactions, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, or other intimate information on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access information that is not related to the investigation or that is out of scope on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access information that is not necessary or appropriate for the investigation or that is disproportionate to the seriousness of the offense on a device or a communication.

How can remote activation of phones improve access to justice and evidence?

Another argument in favor of this technique is that it can improve access to justice and evidence for law enforcement agencies and victims of crimes. Justice and evidence ensure the rule of law and the protection of rights.

Remote activation of phones improves access to justice and evidence by letting law enforcement agencies obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible or difficult to obtain. It also lets law enforcement agencies obtain information that is more reliable and accurate than other sources. It also lets law enforcement agencies obtain information that is timelier and more relevant than other sources.

For example, remote activation of phones could help the police access data that is encrypted or password-protected on a device or a communication. It could also help the police access data that is authentic and verifiable on a device or a communication. It could also help the police access data that is up-to-date and pertinent on a device or a communication.

What are the arguments against remote activation of phones?

Some people oppose this technique because they think it has several disadvantages for human rights and civil liberties.

How can remote activation of phones violate privacy and data protection?

One of the main arguments against this technique is that it can violate privacy and data protection for individuals and groups. Privacy and data protection are fundamental rights recognized by international standards and laws. They ensure human dignity and autonomy.

Remote activation of phones violates privacy and data protection by letting law enforcement agencies access personal or professional data without the owners’ or possessors’ consent or knowledge. It also lets law enforcement agencies access sensitive or confidential data without notification or justification. It also lets law enforcement agencies access excessive or irrelevant data without limitation or proportionality.

For example, remote activation of phones could let the police access medical records, financial transactions, political opinions, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, or other intimate information on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access information that is not related to the investigation or that is out of scope on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access information that is not necessary or appropriate for the investigation or that is disproportionate to the seriousness of the offense on a device or a communication.

How can remote activation of phones undermine the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial?

Another argument against this technique is that it can undermine the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial for individuals and groups. The presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial are fundamental rights recognized by international standards and laws. They ensure justice and accountability.

Remote activation of phones undermines the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial by letting law enforcement agencies access data that they can use against individuals or groups without any legal basis or due process. It also lets law enforcement agencies access data that they can manipulate or falsify by law enforcement agents or hackers. It also lets law enforcement agencies access data that individuals or groups can challenge or contest.

For example, remote activation of phones could let the police access data that they can incriminate individuals or groups without any warrant or authorization from a judge. It could also let the police access data that they can alter or corrupt by law enforcement agents or hackers. It could also let the police access data that individuals or groups can dispute or refute.

How can remote activation of phones create a risk of abuse and misuse by the authorities?

Another argument against this technique is that it can create a risk of abuse and misuse by the authorities for individuals and groups. Abuse and misuse are illegal or unethical actions that violate rights and obligations. They damage trust and legitimacy.

Remote activation of phones creates a risk of abuse and misuse by the authorities by letting law enforcement agencies access data that they can use for purposes other than those authorized or intended. It also lets law enforcement agencies access data that they can share or disclose to third parties without any oversight or control. It also lets law enforcement agencies access data that they can retain or store for longer than necessary or permitted.

For example, remote activation of phones could let the police access data that they can use for political, personal, commercial, or other interests on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access data that they can transfer or leak to other agencies, organizations, media, or individuals on a device or a communication. It could also let the police access data that they can keep or archive for indefinite periods on a device or a communication.

What are the alternatives and safeguards for remote activation of phones?

Some people suggest that there are alternatives and safeguards for remote activation of phones that can balance security and privacy.

What are the existing legal tools to access phone data with judicial authorization?

One of the alternatives for remote activation of phones is to use existing legal tools to access phone data with judicial authorization. Judicial authorization is a legal requirement that ensures respect for rights and obligations. An independent and impartial judge grants it after evaluating the necessity and proportionality of the request.

Existing legal tools to access phone data with judicial authorization include search warrants, wiretaps, geolocation orders, data requisitions, and international cooperation agreements. These tools let law enforcement agencies obtain information from phones in a lawful and transparent manner. They also provide legal protection and recourse for individuals and groups.

For example, search warrants let law enforcement agencies physically seize phones and extract data from them with judicial authorization. Wiretaps let law enforcement agencies intercept calls and messages from phones with judicial authorization. Geolocation orders let law enforcement agencies track the location of phones with judicial authorization. Data requisitions let law enforcement agencies request data from phone operators or service providers with judicial authorization. International cooperation agreements let law enforcement agencies exchange data with foreign authorities with judicial authorization.

What are the principles and conditions for remote activation of phones according to the bill?

One of the safeguards for remote activation of phones is to follow the principles and conditions for remote activation of phones according to the bill. The bill on justice sets some rules and limits for this technique to prevent abuse and misuse.

The principles and conditions for remote activation of phones according to the bill include:

  • The technique can only be used for terrorism and organized crime investigations.
  • An independent judge who authorizes it must supervise the technique. The technique can only last for four months renewable once.
  • The technique must respect necessity, proportionality, subsidiarity, and legality.
  • Parliament and independent authorities must oversee and control the technique.
  • Experts and stakeholders must evaluate and review the technique.

These principles and conditions aim to ensure a reasonable and accountable use of this technique. They also aim to protect the rights and interests of individuals and groups.

What are the possible ways to limit or challenge remote activation of phones?

Another safeguard for remote activation of phones is to use possible ways to limit or challenge remote activation of phones by individuals or groups. These ways can help protect rights and interests, as well as ensure accountability and transparency.

Some of the possible ways to limit or challenge remote activation of phones are:

  • Using encryption technologies:

    Encryption technologies can make data on phones unreadable or inaccessible to law enforcement agencies, even if they remotely activate them. Encryption technologies can also protect communications from law enforcement agencies’ interception or recording. For example, using end-to-end encryption apps, such as Signal or WhatsApp, can prevent law enforcement agencies from accessing messages or calls on phones.

  • Using security features:

    Security features can prevent law enforcement agencies from installing or activating software or applications on phones that enable remote activation. Security features can also detect or remove software or applications that enable remote activation. For example, using antivirus software, firewalls, passwords, biometrics, or VPNs can prevent law enforcement agencies from accessing phones.

  • Using legal remedies:

    Legal remedies can let individuals or groups contest or oppose remote activation of phones by law enforcement agencies. Legal remedies can also let individuals or groups seek compensation or redress for damages caused by remote activation of phones. For example, using judicial review, administrative appeals, complaints, lawsuits, or human rights mechanisms can challenge law enforcement agencies’ actions or decisions regarding remote activation of phones.

How does this technique compare with other countries?

Law enforcement agencies in other countries, such as the United States, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, China, France, and the United Kingdom, have used or considered remote activation of phones by the police. This technique is not new or unique. However, the legal framework, the technical methods, and the ethical and social implications of this technique vary from country to country..

How does remote activation of phones by the police work in different countries?

Remote activation of phones by the police is an intelligence technique that varies from country to country. It depends on the legal framework, the technical methods and the ethical issues of each country. Here are some examples of how it works in different countries.

  • In the United States, this technique is known as “roving bugs” or “mobile device tracking”. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes it for national security purposes and Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act for criminal investigations. It requires a court order based on probable cause and limited in scope and duration. It can locate or record sounds and images from phones. It can be done by installing malware or exploiting vulnerabilities on phones.
  • In Germany, this technique is known as “Quellen-TKÜ” or “source telecommunications surveillance”. The Code of Criminal Procedure and the Telecommunications Act regulate it for criminal investigations and the Federal Intelligence Service Act for national security purposes. It requires a court order based on reasonable suspicion and proportionality. It can intercept communications from phones. To do so, it installs software or uses spyware on phones.
  • In Italy, this technique is known as “Trojan horse” or “spyware”. The Code of Criminal Procedure and the Data Protection Code regulate it for criminal investigations. It requires a court order based on serious indications of guilt and necessity. It can access data or record sounds and images from phones. To do so, it installs software or uses spyware on phones.
  • In Israel, this technique is known as “IMSI catchers” or “stingrays”. The Wiretapping Law and the Privacy Protection Law regulate it for criminal investigations and the Security Service Law for national security purposes. It requires a court order based on reasonable grounds and proportionality. It can locate or intercept communications from phones. To do so, it uses devices that mimic cell towers and trick phones into connecting to them.
  • In Canada, this technique is known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers”. The Criminal Code and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms regulate it for criminal investigations. It requires a court order based on reasonable grounds and proportionality. It can locate or intercept communications from phones. To do so, it uses devices that mimic cell towers and trick phones into connecting to them.
  • In China, this technique is known as “network interception” or “remote control”. The Criminal Procedure Law and the Cybersecurity Law regulate it for criminal investigations and national security purposes. It does not require a court order but only an approval from a higher authority. It can access data or record sounds and images from phones. To do so, it installs software or uses spyware on phones.
  • In France, real-time geolocation is regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code and the Intelligence Law for criminal and national security investigations. Article 706-102-1 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows police officers and agents to use a technical device to access, record, store and transmit computer data without the consent of the persons concerned. This requires a court order based on serious reasons and proportionality. Article 230-32 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that “Any technical means for real-time location, throughout the national territory, of a person, without his consent, a vehicle or any other object, without the consent of its owner or possessor, may be used if this operation is required by necessity: “. This also requires a court order based on serious reasons and proportionality.
  • In the United Kingdom, this technique is known as “equipment interference” or “hacking”. The Investigatory Powers Act regulates it for criminal investigations and national security purposes. It requires a warrant based on necessity and proportionality. It can access data or record sounds and images from phones. To do so, it installs software or uses spyware on phones.

How does remote activation of phones by the police raise ethical and social challenges?

Remote activation of phones by the police raises ethical and social challenges in different contexts and situations because it involves a trade-off between security and privacy, as well as between effectiveness and legitimacy.

Security versus privacy

On one hand, remote activation of phones by the police can enhance security by providing law enforcement agencies with more information and evidence to prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes. It can also deter criminals from using phones to plan or commit crimes.

On the other hand, remote activation of phones by the police can undermine privacy by letting law enforcement agencies access personal or professional data without consent or knowledge. It can also violate human rights and civil liberties by letting law enforcement agencies monitor or record sounds and images without notification or justification.

Effectiveness versus legitimacy

On one hand, remote activation of phones by the police can be effective by increasing the chances of finding relevant information or evidence on phones that may be encrypted, hidden, or destroyed. It can also be efficient by reducing the costs and risks of physical surveillance or interception.

On the other hand, remote activation of phones by the police can be illegitimate by violating the legal framework, the technical methods, or the oversight and control mechanisms that regulate this technique in each country. It can also be counterproductive by creating distrust or resistance among phone users or providers, who may use encryption technologies or legal remedies to protect their data or communications.

The ethical and social challenges of remote activation of phones by the police depend on the legal framework, the technical methods, and the oversight and control mechanisms that regulate this technique in each country. They also depend on the cultural and political values, the public opinion, and the media coverage that shape the perception and acceptance of this technique in each country.

Some of the ethical and social challenges of remote activation of phones by the police are how to :

  • balance security and privacy in the use of this technique?
  • ensure compliance with fundamental rights and freedoms in the use of this technique?
  • prevent abuse, misuse, or error in the use of this technique?
  • provide legal protection and recourse for individuals or groups affected by this technique?
  • ensure accountability and transparency in the use of this technique?
  • evaluate the effectiveness and legitimacy of this technique?
  • foster trust and cooperation between law enforcement agencies and phone users in the use of this technique?

What is the impact of encryption technologies on this technique?

Encryption technologies are methods or systems that make data unreadable or inaccessible to unauthorized parties. Encryption technologies can have a significant impact on remote activation of phones by the police, as they can make this technique more difficult, risky, or controversial.

How can encryption technologies make remote activation of phones by the police more difficult or impossible?

Encryption technologies can make remote activation of phones by the police more difficult or impossible by preventing law enforcement agencies from accessing data or communications on phones, even if they remotely activate them. Encryption technologies can also protect phones from malware or spyware that enable remote activation.

For example, end-to-end encryption, which some apps such as Signal or WhatsApp use, can prevent law enforcement agencies from intercepting or reading messages or calls on phones, as only the sender and the receiver have the keys to decrypt them. Device encryption, which some operating systems such as iOS or Android use, can prevent law enforcement agencies from extracting or viewing data on phones, as they require a password or a biometric authentication to unlock them.

How can encryption technologies make remote activation of phones by the police more risky or harmful?

Encryption technologies can make remote activation of phones by the police more risky or harmful by exposing law enforcement agencies to legal or technical challenges or dangers. Encryption technologies can also harm phone users by compromising their security or privacy.

For example, breaking encryption, which law enforcement agencies sometimes do to access data or communications on phones, can expose them to legal challenges, as it may violate laws or regulations that protect encryption or privacy. It can also expose them to technical dangers, as it may weaken the security of phones or networks and create vulnerabilities for hackers or criminals. Hacking encryption, which law enforcement agencies sometimes do to install malware or spyware on phones, can harm phone users by compromising their security or privacy, as it may allow unauthorized access to their data or functions.

How can encryption technologies make remote activation of phones by the police more controversial or unacceptable?

Encryption technologies can make remote activation of phones by the police more controversial or unacceptable by raising ethical and social issues or debates. Encryption technologies can also create conflicts or tensions between law enforcement agencies and phone users or providers.

For example, undermining encryption, which law enforcement agencies sometimes request to facilitate remote activation of phones, can raise ethical and social issues or debates, as it may affect human rights and civil liberties, such as privacy, confidentiality, dignity, presumption of innocence, and right to a fair trial. It can also create conflicts or tensions between law enforcement agencies and phone users or providers. They may have different interests or values regarding encryption and security.

How does EviCore NFC HSM technology developed by Freemindtronic offer a high level of protection for phone users?

Remote activation of phones by the police can be facilitated by exploiting security flaws, installing malware, or requesting backdoors in encryption technologies. However, some encryption technologies may be resistant to these measures and offer a higher level of protection for phone users. One of them is the EviCore NFC HSM technology developed by Freemindtronic.

This technology lets users create their own encryption keys in a random way and store them in a physical device that communicates with the phone via NFC (Near Field Communication). The device also lets users define their own trust criteria that must be met to use the keys or their segments. The encryption is done in post-quantum AES-256 mode from either a device compatible with the EviCore NFC HSM technology or from an encrypted enclave in the phone created in the Key chain (Apple) or the Key store (Android) via the EviCore HSM OpenPGP technology. The encryption keys are segmented and superior to 256 bits. Moreover, they are physically externalized from computer systems. Everything is designed by Freemindtronic to effectively fight against espionage and corruption of telephone, computer, communication and information systems. Finally, without a server, without a database, even in air gap and airplane mode works EviCore NFC HSM or EviCore HSM OpenPGP technology. Everything is designed to work in volatile memory to leave no trace in telephone and computer systems.

This technology offers a high level of security and privacy for phone users who want to protect their data from unauthorized access, including by the police. It also offers a high level of performance and usability for phone users who want to encrypt or over-encrypt all types of messaging in the world, including SMS and MMS. It also works with other applications that use encryption, such as email, cloud storage or blockchain.

Furthermore, this technology is designed to be totally anonymous, autonomous, unconnected, without a database, without collecting any information of any kind on the identity of the user, nor on the hardware, nor on the terminals used. The technology is designed to be totally isolated and totally independent of the security of the terminal used whether it is connected or not. Freemindtronic does not keep the unique pairing keys for each NFC HSM device. And even if it did, the user at installation will automatically generate segmented complementary keys for encryption with administrator and user passwords. Each NFC device has a unique 128-bit signature dedicated to fighting against counterfeiting of NFC devices. It is also used as a key segment. The secret stored in eprom memories or in enclaves of the phone and/or computer can be individually secured by other segmented keys characterized by additional trust criteria such as a geozone, a random hexadecimal code via an existing or generated QR code or Bar Code via EviCore HSM. It is therefore physically impossible for Freemindtronic but under judicial assignment to decrypt data encrypted via EviCore HSM technologies even with a quantum computer.

Conclusion

Remote activation of phones by the police is an intelligence technique. It aims to fight terrorism and crime by accessing data or sounds and images from phones without consent or knowledge. Law enforcement agencies in various countries have used or considered this technique. For example, France, the United States, Germany, Italy, Israel, Canada, China, and the United Kingdom. However, this technique raises technical, legal, ethical, and social challenges. They need to be addressed.

On the technical side, remote activation of phones by the police depends on three factors: compatibility, connectivity, and security of the phones. It can be done by three methods: exploiting vulnerabilities, installing malware, or using spyware on phones.For example, EviCore NFC HSM technology developed by Freemindtronic protects data and communications on phones from remote activation by the police. Encryption technologies can make this technique more difficult or impossible by preventing law enforcement agencies from accessing data or communications on phones, even if they remotely activate them.

On the legal side, remote activation of phones by the police requires a legal framework that regulates its use and scope. Laws or regulations can authorize it and specify the conditions and criteria for its application. Legal remedies can also challenge it and contest or oppose its validity or legality.

On the ethical side, remote activation of phones by the police involves a trade-off between security and privacy, as well as between effectiveness and legitimacy. It can enhance security by providing more information and evidence to law enforcement agencies to prevent, investigate, and prosecute crimes. It can also undermine privacy by letting law enforcement agencies access personal or professional data without notification or justification.

On the social side, remote activation of phones by the police raises issues or debates that affect human rights and civil liberties. For example, privacy, confidentiality, dignity, presumption of innocence, and right to a fair trial. It can also create conflicts or tensions between law enforcement agencies and phone users or providers, as they may have different interests or values regarding encryption and security.

Therefore, remote activation of phones by the police is a complex and controversial technique that requires a careful and balanced approach that respects the rights and interests of all parties involved. The French bill on remote activation of phones by the police and the EviCore NFC HSM Open PGP technology developed by Freemindtronic illustrate the complex and evolving relationship between intelligence and encryption in the digital age. They raise questions about finding a balance. It is between security and privacy, between public interest and individual rights, between innovation and regulation.

: According to Okta, privacy is the right to control how your information is viewed and used, while security is protection from threats or dangers (https://www.okta.com/identity-101/privacy-vs-security/).

: According to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, finding a balance between security and privacy requires addressing technical, legal, and social questions (https://carnegieendowment.org/2019/09/10/moving-encryption-policy-conversation-forward-pub-79573).

: According to Springboard, finding a balance between innovation and regulation requires cooperation among stakeholders and respect for human rights (https://www.springboard.com/blog/cybersecurity/privacy-vs-security-how-to-balance-both/).