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Dutch govt says no to backdoors, slides $540k into OpenSSL without breaking eye contact


The Dutch government has formally opposed the introduction of backdoors in encryption products.


A government position paper, published by the Ministry of Security and Justice on Monday and signed by the security and business ministers, concludes that “the government believes that it is currently not appropriate to adopt restrictive legal measures against the development, availability and use of encryption within the Netherlands.”

The conclusion comes at the end of a five-page run-through of the arguments for greater encryption and the counter-arguments for allowing the authorities access to the information.

“By introducing a technical input into an encryption product that would give the authorities access would also make encrypted files vulnerable to criminals, terrorists and foreign intelligence services,” the paper noted. “This could have undesirable consequences for the security of information communicated and stored, and the integrity of ICT systems, which are increasingly of importance for the functioning of the society.”

The formal position comes just months after the Dutch government approved a €500,000 ($540,000) grant to OpenSSL, the project developing the widely used open-source encryption software library.

The paper itself is a balanced read, although it is notable that more time is spent on highlighting the benefits of encryption and there is little of the fear-mongering that has marked out efforts to introduce backdoors into the United States and United Kingdom.

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