Interpreting India

The Encryption Debate with Matthew D. Green

Episode Summary

In this episode, Matthew D. Green joins Udbhav Tiwari to delve into the debate surrounding end-to-end encryption. In February, the Indian government issued new rules requiring companies like WhatsApp to implement traceability in their end-to-end encrypted communications platforms. The decision originated from the government’s concerns about the proliferation of illegal activities on these services, including terrorism, child-abuse, and the spread of fake news. India’s actions come amidst a growing global debate concerning government access to encrypted data. While advocates claim that state access to end-to-end encrypted messages benefits national security, opponents argue that it constitutes a dangerous breach of privacy, while worsening cybersecurity standards. Is it possible to apply traceability without impacting the core benefits of end-to-end encryption? Could India’s adoption of this requirement hamper the cybersecurity of the country? And finally, how will the growing concerns about this system impact the future of encryption technology?

Episode Notes

In this episode, Matthew D. Green joins Udbhav Tiwari to delve into the debate surrounding end-to-end encryption. In February, the Indian government issued new rules requiring companies like WhatsApp to implement traceability in their end-to-end encrypted communications platforms. The decision originated from the government’s concerns about the proliferation of illegal activities on these services, including terrorism, child-abuse, and the spread of fake news. India’s actions come amidst a growing global debate concerning government access to encrypted data. While advocates claim that state access to end-to-end encrypted messages benefits national security, opponents argue that it constitutes a dangerous breach of privacy, while worsening cybersecurity standards.  

Is it possible to apply traceability without impacting the core benefits of end-to-end encryption? Could India’s adoption of this requirement hamper the cybersecurity of the country? And finally, how will the growing concerns about this system impact the future of encryption technology?  

Matthew Green is an associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University. He is a nationally recognized expert on applied cryptography and cryptographic engineering. He is one of the creators of the Zerocash protocol, which is used by the Zcash cryptocurrency, and is also a founder of the encryption startup Zeutro. Twitter: @matthew_d_green

Udbhav Tiwari is  a public policy advisor for Mozilla and a  nonresident fellow at Carnegie India. Twitter: @udbhav_tiwari

Further Reading:

A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering by Matthew Green (Blog)

Carnegie Publications on the Encryption Debate Across the World:

Understanding the Encryption Debate in India by Anirudh Burman and Prateek Jha

The Encryption Debate in India: 2021 Update by Trisha Ray

The Encryption Debate in China: 2021 Update by Lorand Laskai,  Adam Segal

The Encryption Debate in Brazil: 2021 Update  by Priscilla Silva, Ana Lara Mangeth,  Christian Perrone

The Encryption Debate in Australia: 2021 Update by Stilgherrian

The Encryption Debate in Germany: 2021 Update by Sven Herpif, Julia Schuetze

The Encryption Debate in the European Union: 2021 Update by Maria Koomen

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