Crypto 2018

August 19-23, 2018

Affiliated events

August 17-19, 2018

Santa Barbara, USA

Affiliated Event: Encryption and Surveillance (August 19)

The public-policy debate over encryption has focused primarily on the use of encryption to protect the confidentiality of communications and stored data. For those who fear unrestrained government surveillance, encryption is an obvious technical response. Governments around the world are asking whether the increasing use of encryption is a problem or essential to meeting growing security threats. On the one hand, the worry is that law enforcement and security agencies are increasingly "going dark." At the same time, forcing "exceptional-access" features into existing security protocols creates additional security risk. A variety of technical and administrative measures have been proposed to address law-enforcement and privacy concerns. Cryptographic-computing techniques (such as search on encrypted data) can enable intelligence collection with better privacy guarantees, and expanded accountability measures can increase confidence in the rule of law. This workshop will examine how encryption and related technologies pose both challenges and opportunities for surveillance and reform of surveillance.

New Publications

At the workshop, we heard presentations from law enforcement and national security officials who make compelling cases for the importance of preserving digital surveillance capabilities but they also recognized the need to avoid adding technical or operational security risks to widely used systems. We heard computer security engineers describe various proposals to provide exceptional access for law enforcement, but also stating clearly that these systems are far from ready for public deployment. And we heard civil libertarians and computer scientists argue that it is a mistake for engineers to put their individual energies into developing technologies that increases law enforcement surveillance power. For various perspectives on the debate the workshop, see this essay series on the Lawfare Blog edited by workshop co-chair, Danny Weitzner.


  • Timothy Edgar (Watson Institute, Brown University),
  • Joan Feigenbaum (Computer Science Department, Yale University),
  • Daniel J. Weitzner (Internet Policy Research Initiative, MIT),


Talks will take place in Corwin Pavilion East.