The National Academies of Science and Engineering has named Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business Professor Peter Swire to a new study committee on “The Future of Encryption.” The committee will identify potential scenarios over the next 10 to 20 years for the balance between encryption and decryption. It will explore other data and communications protection and exploitation capabilities and then assess the national security and intelligence implications of the scenarios it deems most relevant and significant, based on criteria it develops. The committee will consider implications for applications of encryption such as cybersecurity, digital currency, cybercrime, surveillance, and covert communication. The project will produce a peer-reviewed consensus report.
“I am honored to be named to this study committee. Because so much of modern life occurs online, encryption is a uniquely important tool for protecting privacy and cybersecurity. Evolving technology means that nations, including adversaries of the United States, are constantly seeking new ways to break encryption. This multi-disciplinary study will seek to prepare for the most important technical and policy scenarios for encryption in the next two decades,” said Swire.
Professor Swire, Elizabeth and Thomas Holder Chair and Professor of Law and Ethics at Scheller College, has both government and academic experience in the area of encryption. In 1999, while he was the Chief Counselor for Privacy in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, he chaired the White House Working Group on Encryption when the government enabled the export of strong encryption, to provide greater security and privacy on the Internet. In 2012, he published “Encryption and Globalization,” which coined the term the “golden age of surveillance” in contrast to assertions by some in government that encryption was causing intelligence agencies to “go dark.” He has testified before the Senate on encryption issues, and in 2013 he was a member of the Director of National Intelligence’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology when it made policy recommendations on encryption.