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Congratulations to Olivia Gonzalez — winner of the 2017 OII MSc thesis prize

Congratulations to Olivia Gonzalez — winner of the 2017 OII MSc thesis prize

Published on
1 Nov 2017

It is a great pleasure to announce that the 2017 MSc Thesis Prize has been awarded to Olivia Gonzalez, for her thesis titled “Cracks in the Armor: Legal Approaches to Encryption”.

Olivia said: “I am thankful and surprised to receive this prize, knowing the sheer intellectual horsepower of the MSc cohort. Formative conversations with my colleagues at the OII and Balliol College were crucial for the development of this thesis. The OII’s interdisciplinary structure allowed me to write a legal analysis with advice from economists, social scientists, anthropologists, computer scientists, and lawyers. Examining a societal issue like encryption through so many different prisms was a challenge and a valuable opportunity to learn. I am indebted to my advisors, the OII’s Anne-Marie Oostveen and the Law Faculty’s Rebecca Williams, who were my academic and professional role models throughout the process. Overall, I am grateful for the privilege of having been a part of this wonderful academic community.”

In congratulating her, her supervisor, Dr Anne-Marie Oostveen, said “I am delighted that Olivia’s dissertation, which examines contrasting legal approaches to encryption in the US and UK, has been recognised as outstanding and high quality. It is a testament to her hard work and dedication. Legislation of digital communication and privacy is a critical issue with governments trying to keep pace with technological developments. The provision of encryption “back doors”, which would allow access to secure communication, is under debate in many jurisdictions. Olivia’s analysis generates important new evidence against the implementation of encryption back doors. Olivia’s thesis not only marks the successful closing of her MSc studies, but will also serve as an introduction to the scientific world when she next develops it into a peer-reviewed journal article”.

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