On Tuesday April 14, Stephen Balkam, Founder & CEO of FOSI, and Morgan Reed, President of ACT | The App Association, co-hosted a panel discussion on encryption policy. The conversation included experts from diverse industries and with nuanced perspectives, and each shared their personal experiences with how encryption technologies impact their lives.
The conversation included how encryption functions as a protective mechanism online for particularly vulnerable users and groups, featured real-world examples from people who have personally benefited from and relied on encryption, and set the stage for what policymakers need to know about how law enforcement can best utilize digital evidence to aid in investigations, without necessarily breaking encryption.
Carlos Gutierrez is the Deputy Director and General Counsel at LGBT Tech, and spoke about the specific challenges and difficulties the LGBTQ+ community face around the world, especially in the many countries where it is illegal to engage in same sex activities.
Elaina Roberts is the Technology Safety Legal Manager at the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), and discussed the importance of safe and secure communications for those trying to get out of an abusive relationship or family situation, as well as private ways for people to access sensitive resources.
Jennifer Daskal is the Faculty Director for the Tech, Law & Security Program at the American University Washington College of Law and is the author of the often-cited CSIS report “Low Hanging Fruit.” She offered a research-based perspective and spoke to how technology companies can work together with law enforcement in many ways without having to break encryption.
John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks, and used his technical expertise to guide the conversation about securing sensitive data, at rest or in motion, and what factors are most important to consider, possible to achieve with current technology, and recommendations for broader public policy proposals.
The audience Q&A delved deeper into the technical aspects of encryption as well as some of the ethical issues that it presents. The overall aim of the discussion was to go behind the headlines and advance the conversation, hopefully this was achieved.