Canada has again joined its partners in the Five Eyes intelligence co-operative and is calling on tech companies to work with governments to find a legal way around their end-to-end encryption.
In a news release over the weekend, senior cabinet officials from Canada, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the governments of India and Japan, urged the industry to address concerns that encryption in their products helps criminals by precluding any legal access to unlawful communications.
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“Particular implementations of encryption technology … pose significant challenges to public safety, including to highly vulnerable members of our societies like sexually exploited children,” officials wrote.
The governments are asking industry to help find “reasonable, technically feasible solutions” that do the following:
- Embed the safety of the public in system designs, thereby enabling companies to act against illegal content and activity effectively with no reduction to safety, and facilitating the investigation and prosecution of offences and safeguarding the vulnerable.
- Enable law enforcement access to content in a readable and usable format where a (court) authorization is lawfully issued, is necessary and proportionate, and is subject to strong safeguards and oversight.
- Engage in consultation with governments and other stakeholders to facilitate legal access in a way that is substantive and genuinely influences design decisions.