Key to Lawful Access: An Analysis of the Alternatives Offered in the Encryption Debate [open pdf - 941KB]
From the Thesis Abstract: "This thesis examines the lawful access challenge that law enforcement and intelligence agencies face when seeking to obtain communications and mobile electronic devices that cannot be penetrated and that include strong encryption protocols. This encrypted data is inaccessible despite government agencies holding court-approved search warrants and wiretap orders authorizing access. Technology companies, cryptographers, and privacy advocates have argued for years that allowing such lawful access for government agencies will leave Americans' personal information vulnerable to cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries. These groups have offered alternatives to lawful access, which they argue can stand in lieu of the lawful access government agencies argue should be mandated. This thesis uses a policy options analysis to evaluate the viability of these alternatives to mandated lawful access. This thesis explores law enforcement and intelligence agencies' need for access to encrypted data through a review of incidents in which access proved fruitful and incidents in which lack of access was detrimental to public safety, homeland and national security, criminal investigations, etc. This thesis finds that the alternatives offered in place of lawful access are not adequate in ensuring government agencies are able to fulfill their law enforcement and intelligence missions."
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/