European Union: Online Trust and COVID-19: What’s Next for Encryption in Europe?


  • Cathrin Bauer-Bulst, Acting Head of Unit, Cybercrime, European Commission DG-HOME
  • Jens Henrik Jeppesen, Director-General, Center for Democracy and Technology Europe
  • Klaus Landefeld, Vice Chairman of the Management Board Director Infrastructure & Networks, Eco-Association of the Internet Industry


  • Ceren Unal, Regional Policy Manager – Europe, Internet Society


With the efforts to curb a global health crisis increasingly pushing our lives online, encryption is more important than ever. It helps us secure our work from home, protects the integrity of information and critical health services, and allows states to quickly respond to the pandemic in a secure manner. While the EU has traditionally been in favour of encryption practices, some member states have recently created or proposed policies or laws that undermine encryption through exceptional access for law enforcement and national security purposes. This panel discussion examined critical role of encryption in navigating a pandemic, and how exceptional access proposals might hinder security, privacy and trust online, while looking into how encryption debate in the EU will be shaped post COVID era and potential challenges that may arise in the upcoming EU legislation on e-privacy and e-evidence.