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Cryptography cannot be à la carte

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By Riccardo Masucci

Commercial encryption and cryptography may not be the most obvious topic to discuss over a meal, but Eva Kaili MEP made it work with experts and policymakers who gathered in the European Parliament for a well-attended and animated lunch debate on “Cryptography and its applications”. The event, moderated by the techy Greek MEP, featured speakers representing a wide range of stakeholders, from the EU cybersecurity Agency (ENISA) to NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the industry platform Guardtime and the Computer Incident Response Centre of Luxembourg.

Emerging areas of research such as blockchain or post-quantum cryptography, as well as current technology trends – end to end encryption, increase in credentials’ management run by users – were top of the menu alongside policy discussions around the importance of guaranteeing secure communications to citizens and adequate financial resources to improve cybersecurity in the Member States.

Participants encouraged policy makers not to mandate cryptography in legal texts and not to restrict its use because this only hurts the economy and doesn’t stop criminals. Instead of regulating technology, efforts should be made to promote international standardization and to foster awareness and training on cybersecurity. In this way, users will develop an “intuitive risk approach” to cope with cyber threats in their daily use of the Internet and smart devices.

Intel has for many years supported these views around cryptography and encryption. We believe that the international standardization process can be improved and made stronger only by a broad participation of experts around the world. We acknowledge the disruptive potential of crypto-based technologies such as blockchain and we look at its innovative applications. Intel has always supported strong encryption and, as recently explained by our Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Steven Rodgers, we believe that government mandates stipulating the design of technology impede innovation and undermine the security of individuals. This same stance is also broadly supported by industry, and the consensus built by Intel around encryption brought to a DigitalEurope position paper.

 We commend Eva Kaili MEP for her successful initiative and we stand ready to continue the dialogue with policy makers about cryptography and the broad deployment of encryption to secure communications and to face cyber threats in the data economy.

 

 
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