The Right to Encryption


Mon, 23/09/2019 - 10:00 to 18:00


Room 501, The Maiersdorf Faculty Club, Mt. Scopus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The prevalence of encryption technologies and their use in day-to-day communication has generated serious concerns by governments about their ability to protect national security and public order, as well as to engage in other law enforcement operations. From their point of view, the proliferation of encrypted communication methods, which causes previously accessible intelligence data to ‘go dark’, increases the level of risk in society, and some of them have started moving towards restricting encryption-based communication technologies and devices, requiring the creation and opening to governments of ‘back doors’, compelling service provider to decrypt encrypted communication, and the development of independent decryption capacity.

At the same time, encryption has become a key safeguard for the exercise of basic rights, including privacy and freedom of expression, and as an element in exercising many other functions of life, including banking, activating password-dependent instruments, voting etc. This begs the question whether the time has come,or will come soon in which individuals would perceive the right to encryption and not to be subject to decryption as a basic human right.        

The one-day international workshop, which is part of an ongoing cooperation between Essex University Big Data and Human Rights Program and the Hebrew University Cyberlaw Program will investigate the question of whether there is an emerging right to encryption, what are the positive and negative obligations on states and other stakeholders in this connection and how would such a right interact with other online and offline rights, such as the right to forgotten and privacy. 

Read the Workshop Summary.

See Photos of the Workshop.


10:00-10:30 – Opening Remarks
Yuval Shany, The Hebrew University

10:30-11:30 – Panel I: Encryption, Decryption and Back Doors – State of the Research
Amir Cahane
, The Hebrew University – Unpacking Encryption Rights

11:30-11:45 – Coffee Break

11:45-12:45  Panel II: The Right to Encryption – Normative Analysis
Joe Cannataci
, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy – Encryption: A Fundamental Right...But Only as Absolute a Right as Privacy Itself

12:45-14:00 – Lunch

14:00-15:00 – Panel III: The Freedom From Decryption – Case Studies
Amos Eytan, The Cybercrime Department in the State Attorney's Office – Reexamining the Privilege against Self-incrimination in Light of Recent Technological Advancement
Stewart Baker, Steptoe & Johnson – The Tech Industry’s Business and Social Goals Will Undermine Its Commitment to Unbreakable Encryption

15:00-15:15 – Coffee Break

15:15-16:15 – Panel IV: Limits on Encryption Technology Development, Marketing and Transfer
Hagai Eisenberg
, The Hebrew University – Ultimately Secured Secrets in the Quantum Era
Orr Dunkelman, University of Haifa – The Official Guide to Backdooring Cryptography

16:30-17:15 – Concluding Remarks
Jennifer DaskalAmerican University Washington College of Law (By Skype)

18:00 Dinner

Ahmed Shaheed, University of Essex
Amit Ashkenazi, Israel National Cyber Directorate

Cedric Yehuda Sabbah, Israel Ministry of Justice
Daragh Murray, University of Essex
Dafna Dror, The Hebrew University
Eli Bahar, Israel Democracy Institute

Fabiana Di PortoThe Hebrew University
Jonathan Andrew, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
Liat Gorfinkel, Israel National Cyber Directorate

Michal Blau Or, Israel National Cyber Directorate
Noam Lubell, University of Essex
Reut Yamen, Israel National Cyber Directorate 
Ron Shamir, The Hebrew University
Roy Shapira, The Hebrew University

Tal Mizrahi, Israel National Cyber Directorate
Tomer Shadmy, The Hebrew University
Yifat Siminovski, Israel National Cyber Directorate