• Technology
  • Encryption
  • Privacy
DGN Policy Brief 10: Backdoors to Encryption: Analysing an Intermediary's Duty to Provide “Technical Assistance”

Authors: Rishab Bailey, Vrinda Bhandari and Faiza Rahman

The government should avoid implementing a general mandate for intermediaries to either weaken encryption standards or create backdoors in their products/platforms because this constitutes a disproportionate intrusion into the right to privacy. Such a mandate will also likely fail a cost-benefit analysis in view of the possible effects on network security, the availability of alternatives with law enforcement agencies (LEAs), the limited impact of such a move on criminal use of the Internet, and geopolitical considerations. India must instead seek to implement rights-respecting processes to enable law enforcement to access data collected by intermediaries in a timely manner. The government must also take a more long-term perspective by seeking to enhance its capacities, including by developing hacking capabilities, with sufficient regulatory oversight.