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Civil liberties vs national security in the encryption debate: Exceptional access and the trust deficit


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This paper analyses the challenges of reconciling the need for strong data privacy technologies with the US Federal Government’s demand for access to encrypted data to combat national security threats — a concept known as ‘exceptional access’. Using the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist attack as a jumping-off point, this research combines public statements and arguments made for and against exceptional access to reveal a widening trust deficit between technologists and law enforcement authorities. The paper highlights specific intersections of policy and technology which have led to this increasing gulf and provides recommendations for how the gulf can be bridged to promote constructive dialogue between the two groups.
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Keywords: crypto wars; data privacy; encryption; exceptional access; going dark

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • Cyber Security is the major new peer-reviewed journal publishing in-depth articles and case studies written by and for cyber security professionals. It will showcase the latest thinking and best practices in cyber security, cyber resilience, cyber crime and cyber warfare, drawing on practical experience in national critical infrastructure, government, corporate, finance, military and not-for-profit sectors.
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