Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

CA: Crypto: "Committee Observations and Recommendations"




Committee Observations and Recommendations

It is clear to the Committee that there is no perfect solution to balance the spectrum of interests that revolve around cryptography. Any attempt to develop a cryptography policy that balances law enforcement and security intelligence interests on one hand with commercial, economic development and privacy or confidentiality interests on the other hand presents a conundrum to policy-makers.

It is beyond the Committee's mandate and competence to suggest which approach to a cryptography policy is best. From testimony before the Committee it is clear, however, that the police and security intelligence agencies much prefer a mandatory key escrow system in order to maintain their current position. It was equally clear from the evidence that a mandatory key escrow system is not likely to be adopted given all of the competing interests and issues. Therefore, the Committee urges the police and other agencies to actively investigate and explore other methods and techniques to address this very serious obstacle to intelligence-gathering and that government also consider other approaches, some of which the Committee understands are being considered by other countries.

Whatever the solution, the organizations within the security intelligence sector, namely the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment, will require additional resources to acquire the technology and to do the work necessary to maintain their current level of access to electronic communications and stored data. Even if a mandatory key access system were instituted, additional resources would be required, albeit of a smaller magnitude. The Committee was relieved to hear that, in the case of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment, the incremental expenditures required for each would be in the "tens of millions" range annually, rather than the "hundreds of millions" range, or even higher. The Committee urges Industry Canada to include estimates of incremental costs for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communications Security Establishment in whatever policy proposals it makes to Cabinet.

The Committee also endorses recommendations to amend the Criminal Code to provide lawful access to encryption keys by law enforcement and security intelligence organizations and to criminalize encryption when used in the commission of a crime. The Committee also urges the law enforcement and security intelligence communities to consult with developers and suppliers of cryptography technology and with carriers and service providers so that each side may better understand the requirements and objectives of the other and, hopefully, arrive at mutually-agreed solutions.

Even should the encryption conundrum be effectively addressed from a security intelligence perspective, encryption is only one of a panoply of technological advances likely to affect, or having the potential to affect, the security intelligence community. Technology will continue to evolve and the security intelligence community will be on a technology treadmill in order just to keep up.