CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy

This speaker series is made possible by an anonymous charitable donation in memory of cypherpunks and privacy advocates Len Sassaman, Hugh Daniel, Hal Finney, and Caspar Bowden.

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Rearranging Power Through Law and Code: Deciphering the Canadian Encryption Debate

Lex Gill, The Citizen Lab

[Download (MP4)] [View on Youtube]

October 27, 2017 2:30pm, in DC 1304


The politics of encryption technology have profound implications for global security, the economy, and human rights. This talk, which is based on joint research conducted by the Citizen Lab and the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, reviews the state of encryption law in Canada—from the high cost of exceptional access regimes to the possibility of compelled decryption by courts, police, and other state agents. It will also begin to explore the difficult ethical and legal questions facing technologists and computer scientists who find themselves on the frontlines of this debate.

It will encourage a principled, evidence-based understanding of encryption and anonymity tools as sources of investigative friction, and present a critical set of counternarratives to the discourse of 'Going Dark.' Through the lens of encryption policy, we will explore complex questions about the outer reaches of state power, the role of intermediaries, and what it means to be secure (and free!) in the 21st century.


Lex Gill works at the intersection of technology, law, and social change. She is a research fellow at the Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary research laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto and is the Advocate to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's National Security Program. She is a former Google Policy Fellow to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic and a former affiliate and researcher to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Lex holds an undergraduate degree and graduate diploma from Concordia University, and a B.C.L./LL.B. from McGill University's Faculty of Law.