Facebook says it has targeted 30,000 fake accounts linked to France ahead of the country’s presidential election, as part of a worldwide effort against misinformation.
The company said Thursday it’s trying to “reduce the spread of material generated through inauthentic activity, including spam, misinformation, or other deceptive content that is often shared by creators of fake accounts.”
It said its efforts “enabled us to take action” against the French accounts and that it is removing sites with the highest traffic.
French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has become the latest high-profile European politician to threaten U.S. tech companies over their use of end-to-end encryption, and for how digital platforms enable the spread of terrorist propaganda online.
The contents of your internet history are more than enough to send you to jail in France. A French man has been sentenced to two years in jail for visiting terrorist websites. According to French sources, the 32-year-old man, whose name is not yet released, had been regularly visiting pro-ISIS websites for two years. On top of the two year sentence, the man will also need to pay a 30,000 Euro fine.
The French government’s fairly discreet plan to create a massive database containing personal information of the country’s population has encountered gremlins in the form of growing opposition.
The Local.fr: France wants a ‘monster’ database of citizens’ info »
In a world where terrorists deliberately encrypt their connections, how big is the chance that a terrorist would (continue to) use a service that is known to be insecure? Our guess: as soon as the European Commission introduces legislation forcing services such as Telegram to decrypt secure communications, terrorists will turn to alternative tools. (…)
The idea that the way to gain access to terrorists’ communications is by backdooring services such as Telegram, is preposterous. Let’s be clear, the French and German proposal will undermine the security of every single person, under the populist guise of improving security. Or, in the words of cryptographer Phil Zimmerman: When crypto is outlawed, only outlaws will have crypto.
In a new level of dumb, Germany and France are demanding strong encryption for all citizens at the same time as they demand this strong encryption to be breakable. They also demand messaging providers of end-to-end encryption to provide police with keys they don’t have, and for terrorists to stop using freely available strong encryption without a messaging provider. You really couldn’t sound dumber if you tried.
Last winter it looked as if there was going to be an international initiative against encryption. However, after some public attention, President Obama announced that there were no such plans – at present. Shortly after that, there was a brawl between Apple and the FBI, ending with the FBI withdrawing its subpoena for Apple to build software to give backdoor access to an iPhone. (The FBI cracked it by other methods.) Meanwhile, the UK is slowly moving towards some sort of ban on encryption.
Now, it seems this issue will get new attention. Last week the French called for a global initiative to “deal with” encryption. Apparently, they are trying to get Germany aboard on such an initiative. If so, we can expect the issue to become a hot topic in the EU shortly.
As most politicians are somewhat ignorant when it comes to IT and the Internet – we can expect some ill-conceived proposals.
It would be very difficult for politicians to ban user managed end-to-end encryption like PGP. That should reasonably not be up for discussion. (But you never know when it comes to the EU.)
My guess is politicians (and law enforcement) will take aim at popular communication apps like Whatsapp and Telegram – and to demand backdoors to smartphones and other encrypted hardware.
Cracking communication apps and installing backdoors is still a terrible idea. These techniques will – sooner or later – end up in the wrong hands. And government having access to citizens communications is still a very unpleasant concept.
However, this will not prevent terrorists and criminals from communicating securely and covertly – if they really want to.
France’s interior minister has claimed that encryption technology in messaging apps is widely used by terrorists and said the country would work with Germany to initially launch a European initiative to “deal with” the issue.
“This is a central issue in the fight against terrorism, many of the messages exchanged with a view to carrying out terrorist attacks are now encrypted,” said Bernard Cazeneuve, reported by Le Monde.
Glyn Moody in Ars Technica: Encryption battle – France in global call to “deal with” messaging apps »
“The State of Emergency in France has been extended until January. In reaction to violence shaking the country and with the presidential election of 2017 only a few months away, political leaders are indulging an ignominious orgy of security-driven policy. Not satisfied with merely prolonging the state of emergency, lawmakers have also amended the 2015 Intelligence Act passed last year to legalize domestic mass surveillance.”
La Quadrature du Net » French State of Emergency: Overbidding Mass Surveillance »