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Volume 2 / Issue 3

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-002-03-0113


Government, Cryptography, and the Right to Privacy

Jenny Shearer (HyperMedia Unit, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Peter Gutmann (Computer Science Department, University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Abstract: The notion of a right to privacy of citizens in their communications is discussed in the context of an international movement by governments towards regulation of cryptography, and consideration of key forfeiture systems in national cryptography use. The authors argue that the right to privacy in communications networks is an issue of major importance, assuring freedom of the individual in national and global communications. Regulation and control of cryptography use on the Internet by national governments may lead to an imbalance in the citizen/government power relationship, with sequelae including unprecedented surveillance of citizens, disruption of international commerce due to lack of powerful cryptography (and lack of standardisation), human rights abuses by less democratic or non-democratic governments, and limiting of the political potential of an Internet global political system.

Categories: E.3, K.4.2, K.5.2