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200+ experts sign open letter against encryption backdoors

Posted by Sam Frances on Friday, January 22nd, 2016 at 8:36

A group of more than 200 organisations, companies and individuals have signed an open letter opposing government attempts to weaken, undermine or introduce “back doors” into encryption.

The group includes digital rights groups such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Rights Group and European Digital Rights; more traditional civil liberties organisations like the ACLU; and network operators such as Cloudflare.

The open letter, addressed to “the leaders of the world’s governments”, calls on governments to “support the safety and security of users, companies, and governments by strengthening the integrity of communications and systems”.

In doing so, governments should reject laws, policies, or other mandates or practices, including secret agreements with companies, that limit access to or undermine encryption and other secure communications tools and technologies.

Encryption tools, technologies, and services are essential to protect against harm and to shield our digital infrastructure and personal communications from unauthorized access. The ability to freely develop and use encryption provides the cornerstone for today’s global economy. Economic growth in the digital age is powered by the ability to trust and authenticate our interactions and communicate and conduct business securely, both within and across borders.

The letter makes five specific recommendations of behviours governments should avoid. Governments should not:

  • ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption
  • mandate the design or implementation of “backdoors” or vulnerabilities
  • require that tools, technologies, or services are designed or developed to allow for third-party access to unencrypted data or encryption keys
  • seek to weaken or undermine encryption standards
  • compel or pressure an entity to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the above tenets

For more information, see: 200 experts line up to tell governments to get stuffed over encryption – The Register

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