Earlier this year, a data retention law passed by the Belgian government was overturned by the country’s Constitutional Court. The law mandated retention of metadata on all calls and texts by residents for one year, just in case the government ever decided it wanted access to it.
Acting on guidance from the EU Court on laws mandating indiscriminate data retention elsewhere in the Union, the Constitutional Court struck the law down, finding it was neither justified nor legal under CJEU precedent or under Belgium’s own Constitution.
That prompted an immediate rewrite and a hasty propulsion of the law through the legislative process. The government added encrypted messaging services to the list of entities obliged to collect and retain communications metadata.
But the demands go even further than metadata. Legislators want a form of encryption that can be stripped away whenever the government wants access to communications. It means backdoor. But backdoors don’t work; or rather, they do, but then the encryption doesn’t work.