Our BSA audit lawyers review BSA Encryption Primer

Nov 16, 2016

On November 15, the BSA | The Software Alliance published an encryption primer called Encryption: Security Our Data, Securing our Lives, which can be downloaded at http://encryption.bsa.org/downloads/BSA_encryption_primer.pdf. Our CyberCounsel were eager to review the primer right away. Although the tactics of the BSA audits against small businesses can be devious, the BSA has a history of promoting privacy. For example, the BSA took an active and public position in supporting Apple against the government’s request to Apple to create new technology that would crack an older version of it’s popular iPhone in the San Bernardino case.

The Primer presents a familiar and clear look at the positive role that encryption plays in people’s daily lives. It also explains how encryption can protect people both at home and abroad. Our technology attorneys particularly appreciated the section entitled, The Current Policy Debate. However, it seems to provide an biased argument that weakening encryption could strengthen the hands of hackers. The reason that this is biased is because creating strong encryption methods also strengthens the hands of hackers who use strong encryption to penetrate networks.

Although the BSA Primer is a fantastic summary of how encryption works, the BSA Primer provides more arguments in support of encryption and can feel more like propaganda than an unbiased primer on the topic. In all fairness, the BSA states that “a broader, open dialogue on the [encryption] issue is needed.”

When thinking about how encryption can directly affect your business, it can be helpful to consult a technology lawyer for advice about how the privacy laws can intersect with how a company, employees, customers, and attackers can use encryption to their benefit.



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