IGF 2019 WS #275 Framing encryption for a broader public


Organizer 1: Ceren Unal, Internet Society
Organizer 2: Chris Riley, Mozilla
Organizer 3: Jenny Toomey, Ford Foundation

Speaker 1: Chris Riley, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Peter Koch, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Jenny Toomey, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Policy Question(s): 

How can we promote public understanding of the use of encryption for security and safety in the context of government proposals for lawful access solutions?

Relevance to Theme: Encryption is a central component of securing our online communications and services that we use in our everyday lives, yet law enforcement agencies around the world are pushing for greater access to encrypted data and devices through backdoors and “lawful access solutions”. To inform democratic debate around this issue, we need to invest in improving global public understanding.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This is one of the most difficult internet governance topics faced around the world today, and although with legitimate aims such as protecting national security or public safety, often policy decisions are made in the wake of a crisis (a context known to result in bad policy) that might result in leaving the network less secure and more vulnerable. We need to be more proactive and engage and educate the public more to realize the vision of multistakeholder, democratic internet governance in this issue area.


Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Description: - When people hear “encryption”, they often hear “you have something to hide”. Yet encryption is also an essential tool to secure our email, social networking, online banking, and increasingly all of our internet and Web activity from interception by criminals and bad actors. Encryption helps to secure government communications, enable secure transactions and private communications between users.
- We want to figure out how best to help people understand the positive role of encryption in their online lives, so they can be fully informed as citizens when their governments propose controversial laws meant to increase access to encrypted data and devices, which could compromise the security and privacy of their communications and data and weaken the overall security of systems that they use everyday.
- We propose setting up the issue and its challenges through an opening panel, and then facilitating breakout discussions to experiment with ideas and framing to help translate a very technical concept to a very broad public audience.
- We envision sending surveys around to attendees, possibly in advance or possibly after the session, to gather more input particularly from the youth, non-techie friends and family (i.e. not just the IGF attendee type of person) on what kinds of ways of talking about encryption have the most impact.
- This workshop is organised by Mozilla, Internet Society and Ford Foundation.

Expected Outcomes: - Greater awareness of, and investment in, effective public education around encryption and its role in the internet ecosystem.
- Coalitions and partnerships to pool resources and drive bigger campaigns with more impact for bigger audiences.
- Follow up: Potentially, surveys and experiments run by attendees of the session to build a better global awareness of the state of play today and what sorts of educational campaigns have the most effect.

Onsite Moderator: 

Chris Riley, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Ceren Unal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Ceren Unal, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

We are planning to have facilitated breakout discussions for interaction and active participation during the session.

Online Participation: 

We are planning to include remote participants into the discussion during the session with the help of remote moderators.


GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure