Chatham House Roundtable: Encryption and Lawful Access

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Encryption is an important technical foundation for trust in the digital economy. It is crucial for securing infrastructure, communications and information to support our digital society. Encryption is also a way of creating private communications in a digital world where privacy is rapidly disappearing. Yet, encryption remains a divisive issue with polarized positions on many fronts.

In recent times, the debate has centred on the widespread use of encryption – especially end-to-end – and its impact on the ability of law enforcement agencies to properly investigate and prosecute crimes. This has led some governments to call for platform providers and software vendors to provide exceptional access for law enforcement; in some cases, governments go as far as to suggest that technology firms should invest in tools to circumvent encryption.

The purpose of this roundtable, jointly held with the Internet Society, was to explore the benefits of encryption, the challenges that it poses to law enforcement, and to try to reconcile these two issues. Over two sessions, participants explored how the perceived conflict can be addressed going forward. By convening a diverse set of participants, this roundtable was an opportunity to deconstruct specific challenges so that effective solutions can be found.

Attendance at this event was by invitation only.

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Date and Time

Thursday 26 October 2017

Location

Chatham House

Featured speakers and panelists

Michael Chertoff

Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, The Chertoff Group

As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, Michael Chertoff led the country in blocking would-be terrorists from crossing our borders or implementing their plans… Read more

Olaf Kolkman

Principal - Internet Technology, Policy, and Advocacy

I am an executive-level advisor to, and spokesperson of, the Internet Society, where I formulate, review, and advise on strategic, technical, and policy issues. I serve on several advisory boards… Read more

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