Five Eyes countries call on companies to make encrypted data accessible

Sep

3

2018

Five Eyes countries, the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, have called on companies to provide voluntary access to encrypted data. They are free to choose the way they grant it.

In a ‘ statement of principles ‘, the countries make clear their shared view on access to evidence and on encryption, which came about at a meeting in Australia. In it they put forward that ‘encryption is of vital importance for the digital economy, a secure cyberspace and the protection of personal, commercial and government information. On the other hand, ‘the increasing use and refinement of certain encryption designs pose challenges for countries in the fight against serious crimes and threats to national and global security’.

Furthermore, they argue that encryption can also be used by criminals and terrorists, and that the right to privacy is not absolute. That would mean that governments should in certain cases have access to data, such as a search or similar order. In the communication, the countries say they will investigate how they want to deal with a number of principles and that they also look at the voluntary cooperation with companies.

The first principle is ‘shared responsibility’, which means that companies also bear a part of the responsibility when it comes to access to data. The second principle is that every access to data must take place in a lawful manner and that there must be safeguards, for example through independent supervision.

The third principle assumes that companies can establish their own access methods: “The governments of the Five Eyes encourage the information and communication technology providers to develop legally legitimate access solutions for their products and services they create or operate in our countries. may not prefer a particular technology, instead suppliers can create tailor-made solutions that are tailored to their individual system architectures and can meet legal access requirements. ”

The Five Eyes countries, which cooperate in the field of intelligence, also published a position on ‘the unlawful use of online spaces ‘. In it they call internet companies to take measures against crime and terrorism, for example by developing systems whereby illegal material can never be uploaded and live streams of child abuse can be prevented.

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