German government backs end-to-end encryption for national email service available to all

Associated Press

Users of an email service backed by the German government will soon be able to rely on strong encryption of the kind that used to be the preserve of geeks and hackers.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere says that from April onward De-Mail, an email service available to anyone in Germany, will feature end-to-end encryption based on the Pretty Good Privacy system.

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PGP is considered one of the safest encryption standards for secure email, but it's notoriously complicated. De-Mail, which is also used by German government agencies, will use a browser plug-in to encrypt messages while they're in transit.

Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said that when necessary to fight crime, German security services would aim to intercept messages before they are encrypted or after they have been decrypted.