Encryption: a discussion starter and a position paper

An encryption debate is playing our across the world. Some realising the privacy and security benefits encryption technologies allow and others stating encryption is a tool allowing bad people to do bad things. We think the these debates are often false and sometimes futile. Encryption protects everyone's security and privacy, which unfortunately means it's used by criminals and terrorists, which creates public safety risks.

We do not accept that solving challenges relating to encryption is a zero-sum endeavour, with one side gaining what the other side loses. We think there are options for increasing New Zealanders' security online and also addressing the concerns of law enforcement and national security agencies.

As a country, we need to start a discussion about encryption and gather data and evidence in order to make decisions and keep New Zealanders safe both online and in general.

To get this discussion kickstarted, we have written two papers about encryption.

The first explains what encryption is, how it is used across the Internet, how it is used for good and how it is used for bad. The second sets out what we think New Zealand needs to do in order to front foot this issue and not get left behind.