The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Princeton University have convened a small group of experts to advance a more constructive dialogue on encryption policy. The working group consists of former government officials, business representatives, privacy and civil rights advocates, law enforcement experts, and computer scientists. Observers from U.S. federal government agencies attended a select number of working group sessions. Since 2018, the working group has met to discuss a number of important issues related to encryption policy, including how the relevant technologies and uses of encryption will evolve in the future.
In May 2019, the Encryption Working Group released a series of briefings detailing the encryption debates in a select number of key countries and regions—Australia, Brazil, China, the European Union, Germany, and India—that were prepared by local and area experts at the request of the Encryption Working Group. They are designed to shine light on key drivers of the debates in these countries, how they have evolved in the last five years, and the divergent approaches taken by different governments. The briefs do not take a position on encryption policy, rather they provide analysis of how debates about encryption have evolved internationally. The views are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Carnegie or the Encryption Working Group.
In April 2019, the working group released two papers that were prepared by Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy at the request of the Carnegie Encryption Working Group as briefings to provide insight into future trends related to encryption policy. One paper focuses on the impacts of quantum computing and another paper addresses how market trends, consumer behavior, and engineering realities will shape the deployment of user-controlled encryption. The papers do not take a position on encryption policy, rather they provide analysis of the future trends related to encryption and how they will shape the issues that policymakers must address.
The decades-old debate between governments and key tech companies over encryption has flared up again. How can we have a more constructive debate about encryption? What issues should be prioritized?
Strong data encryption thwarts criminals and preserves privacy. At the same time, it complicates law enforcement investigations. A Carnegie working group looks to move the debate forward.
As fears of terrorism intensified, EU member states have demanded a European policy solution to questions around encryption.
In Brazil so far, neither legislation nor judicial decisions have drawn a definitive line on access to encrypted data.
New laws in Australia are framed as a contribution to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Yet the laws are controversial domestically.
As China has grown into a technological power, its encryption debate has expanded to concerns about the tension between government access and personal information protection.
Germany takes a clear and unambiguous stance on strong encryption as a fundamental element for the protection of government networks, the economy, and German citizens.
Regulation on encryption is imminent in India. Its exact nature remains undecided, but it will significantly affect India’s newly recognized fundamental right to privacy.
There will almost always be customer demand for user-controlled encryption, but its impact will depend on how widely it is deployed.
Quantum computers use different underlying mechanisms of physics than normal computers, and their future development could reshape many aspects of computing, including encryption.