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How to crack criminal codes without violating citizen privacy?

By PATRICK STEPHENSON , BRUSSELS – As cheap encryption methods have proliferated, European legal authorities often find themselves stymied in pursuing and dismantling criminal networks who use encrypted communications – code-speak that even nation-state computer assets have trouble breaking. In response, police want more authority and the capabilities to decode encrypted messages. But consumers using encrypted tools like WhatsApp value the privacy that encrypted communications ensure. A balance obviously must be struck between European consumer privacy rights and the need for European police to track down criminals who exploit encryption for illegal profit. Towards this end the…

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Impact of EU’s forthcoming defence fund riddled with unknowns

By BROOKS TIGNER , BRUSSELS – The rhetoric of EU and national leaders kow-tows incessantly to the vitality and importance of SMEs – small and medium sized enterprises – for Europe’s economic innovation and job-creating potential. Yet successful innovative SMEs in the EU that soar to become giants on the world stage are few and far between. There are a couple of Skype-type exceptions, but too many of Europe’s “garage” inventors who have a good idea, particularly in the digital field, head for the greener pastures of the USA where bureaucratic obstacles are lower, returns higher and venture capitalists more willing to take risks than their European counterparts. This points directly to the EU’s forthcoming European Defence Fund (EDF) and how it will generate high-tech results within the framework of PESCO, the permanent structured cooperation in defence that 23 EU member states (and counting) will set in motion in 2018. Such projects will necessarily have to draw in dual-use innovations from the commercial realm. A critical acid test for the defence fund will be to what extent it enables SMEs with interesting dual-use products in one PESCO country to...