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Will Governments Come to Embrace VoIP Encryption for Society?

15 Mar 2007

Philip Zimmermann (creator of Pretty Good Privacy, PGP) talks about how the debate on the use of crypto has shifted since the 1990s, when it was a clash between civil liberties and law enforcement. Today it is an essential part of protecting our economies from bad guys, and PGP has become accepted by governments as a positive influence. All manner of encryption is needed to protect society from organized crime and foreign governments: soon, new seismic realignment of government attitudes about encryption may appear.

Historically, law enforcement has benefited from a strong asymmetry in the feasibility of government or criminals wiretapping old fashioned telephone calls. As we migrate to VoIP, that asymmetry collapses. Without VoIP encryption, organized crime will be able to wiretap prosecutors and judges, leading law enforcement to see VoIP encryption in a different light.

What are the public policy implications in the UK, with the recent surge in government intercepts of domestic communications and the rise of surveillance capabilities?

This workshop has been organised in conjunction with PGP