European Commission report finds data encryption key to mobile health monitoring

14 Jan 2015

Strong privacy and security tools are essential to help people using mobile devices to monitor their health, a European Commission survey suggests.

Just a day after UK Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to ban encrypted messaging services, the results of a European Commission survey reveals that quite the opposite is, in fact, desired.

“Europeans are increasingly using mobile devices to monitor their health and connect with healthcare professionals,” said the commission. “But barriers remain to fully unlock the potential of mobile healthcare or ‘mHealth’.

Along with data encryption and other security protocols, developing a clear legal framework to “facilitate the access of entrepreneurs to the market are also important requirements”.

The report, part of the EU’s planned creation of a Digital Single Market, goes against Cameron’s response to the recent terrorist attack in Paris.

Cameron said that if elected in the next UK general elections, he would ban encrypted online communications tools that could be used by terrorists unless intelligence agencies such as M15 and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) were given increased access.

In a written response, online activist Cory Doctorow fairly ripped the UK head’s logic to shreds on Boing Boing.

The article, titled What David Cameron just proposed would endanger every Briton and destroy the IT industry, shows the flaws behind banning encrypted communications.

“The regime he proposes is already in place in countries like Syria, Russia and Iran (for the record, none of these countries have had much luck with it),” wrote Doctorow.

“David Cameron doesn’t understand technology very well, so he doesn’t actually know what he’s asking for.”

It seems this European Commission survey agrees.

Encryption key image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic