Parliament earmarks EUR 0.5 million to develop and enhance encryption software
The Dutch Parliament on Tuesday approved a EUR 0.5 million budget to develop and improve existing open source encryption solutions that are a crucial part of the Internet. The plan is to enhance projects such as OpenSSL, LibreSSL or PolarSSL (mbed TLS).
The proposal was submitted by MP Kees Verhoeven. The D66 social-liberal MP wants to support the often small teams of software developers working on open source encryption and security tools. Their software is used in many common computer applications and are crucial for trade and banking services on the Internet, explains Marijn van Vliet, who works with MP Verhoeven. “These days, major powers aim to tackle encryption and computer security. But instead of weakening encryption, we should strengthen it, to help protect privacy and freedom.”
Verhoeven’s interest in open source encryption is related to his work on net neutrality. Based on his proposals, net neutrality is enshrined in Dutch law since 2011.
The open source encryption and security software improvement project is to be managed by the Ministry of of Economic Affairs, which is to work with security and encryption experts. “We hope it counterbalances upcoming laws on intelligence services, computer security and data retention”, says Van Vliet. “Perhaps it even boosts our competitiveness.” The ministry is expected to come up with a plan before next summer.
In 2011, the Dutch government funded hardening of OpenVPN, open source software that implements a virtual private network. This resulted in a slimmed-down version, OpenVPN-NL, certified for use by Dutch public administrations for handling classified information.