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November 16, 2020
The Statement, signed by seven countries: UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, India and Japan, says that they “support strong encryption”, which plays “a crucial role” in protecting personal data, privacy, IP, trade secrets and cyber security. However, it says that “[p]articular implementations of encryption technology … pose significant challenges to public safety”, including to the protection of children. Accordingly, the Statement calls on industry to “address our serious concerns where encryption is applied in a way that wholly precludes any legal access to content”, and asks for the following:
- embed the safety of the public in system designs so action can be taken against illegal content;
- allow law enforcement access to content in a readable and usable format where there is lawful authorisation; and
- engage with governments to facilitate legal access.
The signatories say that they are “committed to working with industry to develop reasonable proposals that will allow technology companies and governments to protect the public and their privacy, defend cyber security and human rights and support technological innovation”. Such commitment “applies across the range of encrypted services available, including device encryption, custom encrypted applications and encryption across integrated platforms”.
The statement concludes by saying that the signatories “challenge the assertion that public safety cannot be protected without compromising privacy or cyber security. We strongly believe that approaches protecting each of these important values are possible and strive to work with industry to collaborate on mutually agreeable solutions”. To read the statement in full, click here. To read the Government’s press release, click here.