Encryption and Surveillance
August 19, CRYPTO 2018 Conference on cryptographic research hosted a one-day workshop in Santa Barbara, USA
After earlier this week I attended an online panel to listen to the encryption debate hosted by The Internet Society and took the note by Cryptographer and Professor at Melbourne University Vanessa Teague: “Legislation can’t fix the maths.”, here’s another takeaway from the “CRYPTO 2018” workshop:
Quoting Cindy Cohn of EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Hey, cryptographers, why are you letting yourselves be played by the government into solving their problem for them? That’s not your job. That’s the job of the technical experts at the three-letter agencies circling D.C. Your job is to work on strengthening computer security—i.e., the thing that most of the rest of the CRYPTO conference presentations were trying to do. You do not have to make it your job to find ways to undermine computer security in order to serve a law enforcement agenda that, as Cindy sharply observed, consistently downplays the vital role that strong encryption holds in protecting the public from hackers, thieves, abusive spouses, and other criminals.
The overall opinion of the cryptography and computer security community, formed by a quarter-century of research, is that there is no middle ground. Either you provide “exceptional” access for law enforcement and thereby create a security vulnerability that affects all users and can be discovered and abused by bad actors; or you design your encryption scheme to be as robust as you can, without intentionally adding flaws. It’s one or the other.
The closest law enforcement is currently debated in Australia. Are you supporting Australia’s Access Bill 2018? There’s a campaign right now, follow here: https://digitalrightswatch.org.au/2018/08/19/defend-encryption/
Credit photo Stanford Law School