WASHINGTON, D.C, October 7, 2015. – The Niskanen Center has joined a group of libertarian and conservative organizations to call on President Obama to endorse the use of strong encryption. The organizations also urge the President to disavow efforts to intentionally weaken encryption, whether by installing “back doors,”“front doors,” or any security vulnerabilities into encryption products.
“This is an issue that deserves a lot more attention and engagement from conservatives and libertarians than it has received so far,” said the Niskanen Center’s civil liberties policy analyst, Ryan Hagemann. “Encryption is the Internet’s Second Amendment. We should be embracing encryption, not trying to weaken it. The security of online retail, financial transactions, and the digital economy as a whole rests on the use and advancement of strong, secure encryption protocols.”
This letter – signed by TechFreedom, R Street, FreedomWorks, and other libertarian and conservative organizations – is a response to a recently leaked National Security Council (NSC) memo, which outlines three possible policy options for the Obama Administration to consider.
“The Internet ecosystem has grown and thrived on the premise of permissionless innovation,” Hagemann said. “Those principles, and the security underpinning the Internet’s operations, are responsible for much of the global and domestic economic growth we’ve had over the past 25 years.”
“We urge the Administration to embrace the first policy option offered by the NSC: to ‘disavow legislation and other compulsory actions’ that would force private companies to intentionally weaken encryption,” Hagemann said. “Weakening encryption will only weaken the online security of millions of Americans, and would trigger irreparable economic harm.”
The full letter and list of coalition signatories can be found here.
The Niskanen Center is a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.