The encryption debate

Whetherin Australia,the United States, the United Kingdom or mainland Europe, the debate around law enforcement access to encrypted information (known as “exceptional access”) is heating up.

In the United Kingdom, the government is beginning to feel out its new mandate for exceptional access under the 2016 Investigatory Powers Act. In Australia, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 grants the Australian government new powers to compel access to encrypted data. And in the United States, the Department of Justice have renewed its push for exceptional access mandates as well.

So what about Canada? In this discussion, panellists will explore the shifting global debate on law enforcement access to encrypted data, the technical realities of end-to-end encryption and exceptional access, and what it could mean for Canadians and Canadian policy.


Ian Goldberg, University of Waterloo
Ian Goldberg is the Canada Research Chair in Privacy Enhancing Technologies.  He is a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, where he is a founding member of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy (CrySP) research group.  He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he discovered serious weaknesses in a number of widely deployed security systems, including those used by cellular phones and wireless networks.

He also studied systems for protecting the personal privacy of Internet users, which led to his role as Chief Scientist at Zero-Knowledge Systems, a Montreal-based startup.  His research currently focuses on developing usable and useful technologies to help Internet users maintain their security and privacy.  He is a Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery and a winner of the Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Award, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award, the USENIX Security Test of Time Award, and the Caspar Bowden Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies.