Crypto Policy Project
Encryption helps human rights workers, activists, journalists, financial institutions, innovative businesses, and governments protect the confidentiality, integrity, and economic value of their activities. However, strong encryption may mean that governments cannot make sense of data they would otherwise be able to lawfully access in a criminal or intelligence investigation. In the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, U.S. government struggled with tradeoffs between its surveillance/law enforcement missions (potentially thwarted by crypto) and its information assurance/crime prevention missions (furthered by crypto). In the main, these debates were resolved in favor of allowing the proliferation of strong crypto. Today, the crypto policy issue has resurfaced. FBI Director James Comey chides Apple and Google for using cryptography architectures that the companies are unable to decrypt for law enforcement. In secret, the intelligence community is invested in breaking popular encryption schemes, stealing encryption keys, and finding ways to circumvent communications security protocols. The Crypto Policy Project investigates and analyzes the policy and practices of the U.S. and foreign governments for forcing decryption and/or influencing crypto-related design of online platforms and services, devices, and products, both via technical means and through the courts. The project’s interdisciplinary approach includes technical analysis of policy proposals for encryption design, contributed by cryptography researchers in the Stanford Computer Science Department’s Applied Cryptography Group. The project also researches the benefits and detriments of strong encryption on free expression, political engagement, economic development, and other public interests. More information about the Crypto Policy Project can be found at https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/our-work/projects/crypto-policy-project.
Pfefferkorn, R. The Risks of "Responsible Encryption", Whitepaper, February 2018
Pfefferkorn, R. Everything Radiates: Does the Fourth Amendment Regulate Side-Channel Cryptanalysis?, 49 Conn. L. Rev. 1393 (2017) https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3096711
Granick, J., Pfefferkorn, R. Brief of amici curiae iPhone security and applied cryptography experts in support of apple, Inc.'s motion to vacate order compelling Apple, Inc. to assist agents in search, and opposition to government's motion to compel assistance. March 2016. http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/publications/brief-amici-curiae-iphone-security-and- applied-cryptography-experts-support-apple-incs