Coalition Objects to Renewed Calls for Weaker Encryption Following 'Five Eyes' Ottawa Meeting

Voices-Voix signed onto a letter alongside 83 other organizations and experts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, urging the 'Five Eyes' governments to encourage strong encryption, which is necessary for privacy and security:

June 30, 2017

To Ministers Responsible for the Five Eyes Security Community,

In light of public reports about this week’s meeting between officials from your agencies, the undersigned individuals and organizations write to emphasize the importance of national policies that encourage and facilitate the development and use of strong encryption. We call on you to respect the right to use and develop strong encryption and commit to pursuing any additional dialogue in a transparent forum with meaningful public participation.

This week’s Five Eyes meeting (comprised of Ministers from the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia) discussed “plans to press technology firms to share encrypted data with security agencies” and hopes to achieve “a common position on the extent of ... legally imposed obligations on … device-makers and social media companies to co-operate.”1 In a Joint Communiqué following the meeting, participants committed to exploring shared solutions to the perceived impediment posed by encryption to investigative objectives.2

While the challenges of modern day security are real, such proposals threaten the integrity and security of general purpose communications tools relied upon by international commerce, the free press, governments, human rights advocates, and individuals around the world.

Last year, many of us joined several hundred leading civil society organizations, companies, and prominent individuals calling on world leaders to protect the development of strong cryptography. This protection demands an unequivocal rejection of laws, policies, or other mandates or practices—including secret agreements with companies—that limit access to or undermine encryption and other secure communications tools and technologies.3

Today, we reiterate that call with renewed urgency. We ask you to protect the security of your citizens, your economies, and your governments by supporting the development and use of secure communications tools and technologies, by rejecting policies that would prevent or undermine the use of strong encryption, and by urging other world leaders to do the same.

Read the full letter here.

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