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News

EU internet surveillance decision welcomed by Phion

Phion : 14 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
EU votes against internet surveillance proposals designed to protect businesses and instead calls for greater communication security
phion welcomes the decision by the EU Parliament to temporarily reject extensive surveillance under the so-called "Telecommunications Package". Dr Wieland Alge, CEO, commented on the decision:

"Following the exposure of cases of electronic eavesdropping in the past, companies and organisations are now increasingly obliged to tighten their "confidential zones" even further. In the end, they can only rely on themselves. If third parties or even internal affairs departments can force telecommunications providers to monitor data traffic, then companies and organisations will have to assume that all communication leaving the company's own network not only can, but will be, subject to electronic surveillance.

"Until now this was a big problem for companies with global operations working in areas and regions known for their more lax approach towards information security and intellectual property. Under the current initiatives proposed by some EU Parliament members calling for across-the-board Internet surveillance, the protection of own communications would have - at one strike - affected all companies that communicate and transmit data on the Internet. We are therefore pleased that the EU Parliament has voted against complete internet surveillance."

Europeans are currently witnessing a paradoxical trend: new data protection regulations will oblige companies to deal with customer and employee information in a much more confidential manner. But at the same time - even subsequent to the EU Parliament's decision - there are still trends to let telecommunications suppliers monitor and filter this information.

State officials can force telecommunications suppliers to control the data traffic. For companies this means that all communication outside of their network can be subject to electronic surveillance. Some companies trust their providers completely, while others back away from the expense associated with an encryption solution. However, apart from the fact that the costs here are usually over-estimated, sending unencrypted sensitive information via third party lines is no longer a viable option in Europe either.

Alge concluded, "The one learning experience resulting from the current discussion is that the only way companies can realise a sufficient level of information security is to implement provider-independent protection for all data traffic between their subsidiaries, mobile employees and partners."
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