EMCS Faculty Member Seny Kamara Co-Authors An NAS Report On Encryption

Just over a year ago, Professor Seny Kamara of Brown University’s Department of Computer Science and Executive Master in Cybersecurity (EMCS) program was appointed to a new committee created by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), along with 13 other experts from academia and industry.

Last week, the committee, “Law Enforcement and Intelligence Access to Plaintext Information in an Era of Widespread Strong Encryption: Options and Tradeoffs,” released their first report, “Decrypting the Encryption Debate: A Framework for Decision Makers.” 

The report covers the entire spectrum of how encryption is used, including:

  • The role of encryption in cybersecurity and the protection of privacy and civil liberties
  • The needs of law enforcement and the intelligence community for information
  • Technical and policy options for accessing plaintext, and
  • The international landscape

In an area where there’s little consensus among government officials, privacy advocates, and industry and academic experts, this report is an attempt to create the language and shape the outlines of a dialogue that will inform leading policymakers worldwide.

“The committee hopes,” they write, “that the common vocabulary and broad context provided by this report, as well as the analytical framework, will make future conversations easier, more productive, and more likely.”

Seny Kamara

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