Encryption

WHEREAS, the introduction of digitally-based telecommunications technologies and the widespread use of computers and computer networks with 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 recoverable encryption is clearly the best way, and perhaps the only way, to achieve the goals of both 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 duly assembled at its 106th Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina supports and encourages the development and adoption of a balanced encryption policy which promotes the development and use of commercially available encryption products that provide for the recovery of the plain text of encrypted criminally-related communications and/or electronically stored information, with appropriate legal authorization, 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, legislative or otherwise, that would undercut the adoption of such a balanced encryption policy; and be it FURTHER RESOLVED, that given the international scope of the problems presented by sophisticated, non-recoverable encryption products, the IACP strongly encourages all nations to adopt balanced encryption policies that meet the concerns of both law enforcement and the commercial needs of industry.