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The Return of the Crypto Wars

June 3 @ 11:00 amJune 4 @ 12:00 pm

Presented by Professor Bart Preneel, University of Leuven

The ongoing encryption debate, commonly known as the “crypto wars,” revolves around the delicate balance between preserving individual privacy and meeting the demands of law enforcement in our increasingly digital world. The previous crypto wars primarily centred on key escrow for end-to-end encrypted communications, exemplified by the Clipper Chip in 1993, and access to a confiscated device in the high-profile Apple vs. FBI San Bernardino case in 2015. However, the current battle has shifted its focus to the detection of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on devices, emphasizing client-side scanning.

From a law enforcement perspective, their core mission is to safeguard society, and they argue that technological advancements should not obstruct their ability to access information through legal warrants. Conversely, civil society and academic circles contend that introducing intercept capabilities could compromise overall security and potentially lead to misuse by non-democratic entities.

This presentation will delve into the technical intricacies of this ongoing debate and shed light on the broader policy implications. It aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and implications surrounding the encryption debate, particularly in the context of CSAM detection, which has become a focal point in the current iteration of the crypto wars.


June 3 @ 11:00 am
June 4 @ 12:00 pm


J12 Board Room 124, Computer Science Building