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Encryption 11 June 2015

Strong Support From The UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye For Anonymity And Encryption

By Christine RunnegarSenior Director, Internet Trust

Recently David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, released his first report, which will be submitted to the Human Rights Council at the upcoming meeting from 15 June to 3 July. The Internet Society was one of a number of non-governmental organisations that provided a submission for the consultation on this report.

Not surprisingly, David Kaye’s report provides strong support for anonymity and encryption, noting that they facilitate and often enable the rights to freedom of opinion and expression. Moreover, he concludes:

Blanket prohibitions fail to be necessary and proportionate.States should avoid all measures that weaken the security that individuals may enjoy online, such as backdoors, weak encryption standards and key escrows. In addition, States should refrain from making the identification of users a condition for access to digital communications and online services and requiring SIM card registration for mobile users. … Court-ordered decryption, subject to domestic and international law, may only be permissible when it results from transparent and publicly accessible laws applied solely on a targeted, case-by-case basis to individuals (i.e., not to a mass of people) and subject to judicial warrant and the protection of due process rights of individuals.

He also specifically encourages states and non-governmental stakeholders “to engage in a campaign to bring encryption by design and default to users around the world”.

The Internet Society is a firm advocate of anonymity and encryption: we believe individuals should have the ability to communicate confidentially and anonymously on the Internet. We also aspire to pervasive implementation of end-to-end encryption . We also support ongoing efforts in Internet technical standards bodies such as the Internet Engineering Task Force and Internet Architecture Board (IETF and IAB) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) towards encryption by design and encryption by default, e.g. Internet Architecture Board (IAB) Statement on Internet Confidentiality and W3C Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Finding on Securing the Web.

Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov on Flickr

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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