The Ground Truth About Encryption

By Paul Rosenzweig
Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 9:45 AM

Just in time for today's hearing on Capitol Hill, and for the RSA Conference in San Francisco, The Chertoff Group has released a white paper entitled "The Ground Truth About Encryption and The Consequences of Extraordinary Access." Here is the abstract:

U.S. policy makers are currently engaged in a debate regarding the merits of mandating a means of “extraordinary access” to encrypted data for U.S. law enforcement, what is sometimes referred to as an encryption “backdoor.” This paper examines modern encryption technologies, the feasibility of providing law enforcement with extraordinary access, the impact that encryption technology is currently having on U.S. law enforcement (which some have referred to as “going dark”), and the likely impacts that an extraordinary access requirement would have on U.S. national security, the technology sector, and continued innovation in the security field. We conclude that an extraordinary access requirement is likely to have a negative impact on technological development, the United States’ international standing, and the competitiveness of the U.S. economy and will have adverse long-term effects on the security, privacy, and civil liberties of citizens.

Full disclosure: I serve as a Senior Advisor at The Chertoff Group and contributed to the development of the report.