Issues Encryption & Lawful Access

Encryption & Lawful Access

Encryption, Lawful Access, and Globalization 

This project addresses key issues of privacy and security on the global Internet.  The project will formally launch in early 2012.

  • Encryption.  The first goal is to provide intellectual leadership on encryption as that topic becomes a major area of controversy globally in countries including India and China. Encryption was the single biggest privacy issue in the 1990s. There has been very little policy analysis of the topic since that time.  Now, as major countries implement limits on effective encryption, it is important to inform a new generation of policymakers and technologists about reasons to support effective encryption.
  • Lawful access.  As an alternative or complement to limitations on encryption, law enforcement and national security agencies can seek lawful access to communications and stored data.  In the United States, the FBI has called for updates to CALEA, the 1994 statute that requires telecommunications providers to architect their systems to enable wiretaps.  In the United States and globally, agencies are increasingly seeking lawful access to cloud service providers and other databases.  The Project will consider the costs and benefits of the multiple ways that government agencies may seek to affect system architecture and otherwise gain access to communications and stored records.


Peter Swire is Director of the Project, and a Senior Fellow of the Future of Privacy Forum.  He is the C. William O’Neill Professor of Law at the Moritz College of Law of the Ohio State University, and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Center for Democracy and Technology.

From 1999 to early 2001, Swire served as Chief Counselor for Privacy, in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the only person to date to have government-wide responsibility for privacy policy.  In that role, he chaired the White House Working Group on encryption, as well as a White House Working Group on how to update wiretap laws for the Internet.  In 2009 and 2010 he served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, in the National Economic Council.

Swire has written extensively on privacy and cybersecurity topics.  His writing, speeches, and other materials are available here.


Recent Publications by Peter Swire on Encryption and Lawful Access:

Privacy Calendar

6:30 pm Behind the Headlines: NSA Surveillance and Ongoing Revelations @ The Washington Post
Behind the Headlines: NSA Survei… @ The Washington Post
Apr 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Nearly a year after former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the NSA’s surveillance system, revelations about the global programs continue to emerge. [...]
all-day 6th Biannual International Surveillance & Society Conference
6th Biannual International Surve…
Apr 24 – Apr 25 all-day
The 6th Biannual International Surveillance & Society conference hosted by the University of Barcelona and supported by the Surveillance Studies Network is currently calling for [...]
12:00 pm Data Privacy in Education: Ensuring Student Security while Encouraging Innovation in K-12 Education @ Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-354
Data Privacy in Education: Ensur… @ Rayburn House Office Building, Room B-354
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The Congressional E-Learning Caucus in cooperation with Into and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training presents a luncheon to discuss “Data Privacy [...]
all-day IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive 2014
IAPP Europe Data Protection Inte…
Apr 29 – May 1 all-day
The IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive features timely programming centred on the top issues impacting the European data protection community, with a focus on addressing [...]
5:30 pm InSecurity: Race, Surveillance and Privacy in the Digital Age @ New America Foundation
InSecurity: Race, Surveillance a… @ New America Foundation
Apr 30 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Now more than ever, digital tools sit at a precarious tipping point, and many question whether they will be used to address pre-existing disparities, [...]
all-day IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2014
IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2014
May 7 – May 9 all-day
The IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium is the leading conference for education, debate and discussion of issues that matter most to Canadian privacy and data protection [...]
all-day Privacy Law Scholars Conference (7th Annual) @ The George Washington School of Law
Privacy Law Scholars Conference … @ The George Washington School of Law
Jun 5 – Jun 6 all-day
  UC Berkeley School of Law and The George Washington University Law School will be holding the seventh annual Privacy Law Scholars Conference (PLSC) on [...]
all-day Computers, Freedom, and Privacy 2014 Conference @ Airlie Center
Computers, Freedom, and Privacy … @ Airlie Center
Jun 8 – Jun 10 all-day
Mark your calendars! The 2014 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference will be held June 8-10 at the Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia. The Airlie Center [...]

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