Past eventPast eventInvitation OnlyResearch Event

Encryption and Lawful Access

Chatham House, London


Michael Chertoff, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, The Chertoff Group; Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security (2005–09)
Olaf Kolkman, Chief Internet Technology Officer, Internet Society
Gary Davis, Global Director of Privacy & Law Enforcement Requests, Apple
Kamlesh Bajaj, Distinguished Fellow, Cyberspace Cooperation, EastWest
Gail Kent, Global Public Policy Manager, Facebook


Encryption is an important technical foundation for trust in the digital economy. It is crucial for securing infrastructure, communications and information to support our digital society. Encryption is also a way of creating private communications in a digital world where privacy is rapidly disappearing. Yet, encryption remains a divisive issue with polarized positions on many fronts.

In recent times, the debate has centred on the widespread use of encryption – especially end-to-end – and its impact on the ability of law enforcement agencies to properly investigate and prosecute crimes. This has led some governments to call for platform providers and software vendors to provide exceptional access for law enforcement; in some cases, governments go as far as to suggest that technology firms should invest in tools to circumvent encryption.

The purpose of this roundtable, jointly held with the Internet Society, is to explore the benefits of encryption, the challenges that it poses to law enforcement, and to try to reconcile these two issues. Over two sessions, participants will explore how the perceived conflict can be addressed going forward. By convening a diverse set of participants, this roundtable is an opportunity to deconstruct specific challenges so that effective solutions can be found.

Attendance at this event is by invitation only.