Encryption and Anonymity: Rights and Risks

12 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


Encryption and anonymity are two key aspects of the right to privacy and free expression online. From real-name registration in Iran to the UK Prime Minister's calls for Internet backdoors to encrypted communications, however, the protection of encrypted and anonymous speech is increasingly under threat. Recognising these challenges, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye, presented a report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015 which highlighted the need for greater protection of encryption and anonymity.

Five months on from the Special Rapporteur’s report, the participants in this roundtable will discuss his recommendations and the latest challenges to the protection of anonymity and encryption. For example, how can law enforcement demands be met while ensuring that individuals still enjoy strong encryption and unfettered access to anonymity tools? What steps should governments, civil society, individuals and the private sector take to avoid the legal and technological fragmentation of a tool now vital to expression and communication? How can individuals protect themselves from mass surveillance in the digital age?

At the end of the session, the participants should have identified areas for future advocacy both at the international and domestic levels as well as areas for further research for the protection of anonymity and encryption on the Internet.

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