Harvard University End To End Encryption and Privacy Paper

1. Thesis statement. This is a sentence in which you state unambiguous answers to the questions for your topic. You must take a position of the morality/ethical nature of the action or issue.

2. An ethical theory and relationship to the topic at hand.

3.  An argument from the course content related to the essay topic.

4. Contrary point against the thesis statement, using an ethical theory.

Topic – End-to-end encryption and privacy

On Sun. Oct. 11, 2020, the governments of United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan signed a joint letter calling for industry and governments to work together in the development and implementation of technologies to ensure that governments and service providers can access encrypted communications. The letter states:

“Law enforcement has a responsibility to protect citizens by investigating and prosecuting crime and safeguarding the vulnerable. Technology companies also have responsibilities and put in place terms of service for their users that provide them authority to act to protect the public.  End-to-end encryption that precludes lawful access to the content of communications in any circumstances directly impacts these responsibilities, creating severe risks to public safety in two ways:

By severely undermining a company’s own ability to identify and respond to violations of their terms of service. This includes responding to the most serious illegal content and activity on its platform…  and

By precluding the ability of law enforcement agencies to access content in limited circumstances where necessary and proportionate to investigate serious crimes and protect national security, where there is lawful authority to do so.”

Should there be mechanisms by which governments have access to encrypted communications, enforced through cooperation with consumer technology providers and manufacturers? In your answer please take a position on whether it is moral for the request of the letter to be carried through by legislators and technology companies as a matter of new law.

  1. Required reading:
  2. A Verge article summarizing the letter and the letter itself.

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