Encryption

WHEREAS, the introduction of digitally-based telecommunications technologies, as well as the widespread use of computers and computer networks having encryption capabilities are facilitating the development and production of affordable and robust encryption products for private sector use; and WHEREAS, on one hand encryption is extremely beneficial when used legitimately to protect commercially sensitive information and communications. On the other hand, the potential use of such encryption products by a vast array of criminals and terrorists to conceal their criminal communications and information from law enforcement poses an extremely serious threat to public safety; and WHEREAS, the law enforcement community is extremely concerned about the serious threat posed by the use of robust encryption products that do not allow for law enforcement access and its timely decryption, pursuant to lawful authorization (court-authorized wiretaps or court-authorized search and seizure); and WHEREAS, law enforcement fully supports a balanced encryption policy that satisfies both the commercial needs of industry for robust encryption while at the same time satisfying law enforcement’s public safety needs; and WHEREAS, law enforcement has found that robust key-escrow encryption is clearly the best way, and perhaps only way, to achieve both goals of industry and law enforcement; and WHEREAS, government representatives have been working with industry to encourage the voluntary development, sale, and use of key-escrow encryption in its pursuit of a balanced encryption policy; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), duly assembled at its 103rd annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, supports and encourages the development and adoption of a key-escrow encryption policy, which we believe represents a policy that appropriately addresses both the commercial needs of industry while at the same time satisfying law enforcement’s public safety needs and that we oppose any efforts, legislatively or otherwise, that would undercut the adoption of such a balanced encryption policy.