The Fight for Encryption in 2016: Crypto fight in the Wake of Apple v. FBI

Presented at 33C3 (2016), Dec. 27, 2016, 12:45 p.m. (60 minutes)

Both strong end-to-end communications encryption and device encryption are legal in most jurisdictions today, and remain widely available. Yet software programmers and hardware producers are increasingly under pressure from law enforcement and policy makers around the world to include so-called backdoors in encryption products. In this lecture, I will provide the state of the law as we moving into 2017, detailing what happened in the fight between Apple and the FBI in San Bernardino and the current proposals to weaken or ban encryption, covering proposed and recently enacted laws. I will also discuss the extra-legal pressures placed upon companies, and the rise of government hacking and state-sponsored malware as an alternative or addition to weakening software. Finally, the presentation will discuss possible realistic outcomes, and give my predictions on what the state of the law will be as we head into 2017, and discuss how we can fight for a future that will allow for secure communications for everyone. The discussion will include: - The law and policy issues in the FBI v. Apple iPhone case, - The FBI’s purchase of 0day access to the iPhone 5c, and Apple’s technical response, - The rise in use of government malware to access encrypted device - Proposed and enacted crypto laws in the United States, Australia, India, Russia, and the UK, - Legal pressures on companies, like Brazil’s arrest of Facebook executives to pressure WhatsApp, - Q&A with the audience.


  • Kurt Opsahl
    Kurt Opsahl is the Deputy General Counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a civil society organization that fights for civil liberties in the digital age. In addition to representing clients on civil liberties, free speech and privacy law, Opsahl counsels on EFF projects and initiatives. He is the lead attorney on the Coders’ Rights Project. Before joining EFF, Opsahl worked at Perkins Coie, where he represented technology clients with respect to intellectual property, privacy, defamation, and other online liability matters, including working on Kelly v. Arribasoft, MGM v. Grokster and CoStar v. LoopNet. For his work responding to government subpoenas, Opsahl is proud to have been called a „rabid dog“ by the Department of Justice. Prior to Perkins, Opsahl was a research fellow to Professor Pamela Samuelson at the U.C. Berkeley School of Information Management & Systems. Opsahl received his law degree from Boalt Hall, and undergraduate degree from U.C. Santa Cruz. He co-authored „Electronic Media and Privacy Law Handbook“. In 2007, Opsahl was named as one of the „Attorneys of the Year“ by California Lawyer magazine for his work on the O’Grady v. Superior Court appeal. In 2014, he was elected to the USENIX Board of Directors and became an affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.


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