Policy approaches to the encryption debate
- The current encryption discussion is at a standstill because it is largely focused on theory and hypotheticals.
- A real-world approach based on empirical evidence would help to move the discussion forward.
- To assess the need for an encryption backdoor, we recommend data collection to identify objective statistics on cases or investigations where a backdoor would have had an impact.
- We also recommend increased law enforcement training on digital investigation techniques that, if used fully, would likely obviate the need for a backdoor.
- To determine whether there is a passable technical backdoor system, we recommend an adversarial testing process, involving peer review of proposed systems.
- To identify policy problems and solutions that would arise in putting a technical backdoor system into actual use, we recommend scenario planning to find likely points of failure or other difficulties in implementation.
- These three questions must all be answered positively before a backdoor can be adopted.
- It is highly unlikely, in our view given current facts, that all three can be answered positively.
- The key benefit of this framework is that it poses questions that can be answered by evidence, experimentation, and discussion of the real world beyond theory.
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