University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Computer Security Seminars > Balancing Societal Security and Individual Privacy: Accountable Escrow System

Balancing Societal Security and Individual Privacy: Accountable Escrow System

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Privacy is a core human need, but society sometimes has the requirement to do targeted, proportionate investigations in order to provide security. To reconcile individual privacy and societal security, we explore whether we can have surveillance in a form that is verifiably accountable to citizens. This means that citizens get verifiable proofs of the quantity and nature of the surveillance that actually takes place. In our scheme, governments are held accountable for the extent to which they exercise their surveillance power, and political parties can pledge in election campaigns their intention about reducing (or increasing) this figure.

We propose a general idea of accountable escrow to reconciling and balancing the requirements of individual privacy and societal security. We design a balanced crypto system for asynchronous communication (e.g., email). We propose a novel method for escrowing the decryption capability in public-key cryptography. A government can decrypt it in order to conduct targeted surveillance, but doing so necessarily puts records in a public log against which the government is held accountable.

This talk is part of the Computer Security Seminars series.

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