Sven Herpig

Sven Herpig

Stiftung Neue Verantwortung


Sven Herpig is the project director of the Transatlantic Cyber Forum (TCF). TCF brings together German and American experts from the fields of cyber security, cyber defence, foreign and domestic policies. Sven did his PhD on the strategic implications of cyber operations and cyber security for the state and currently focuses on lawful hacking and national responses to cyber attacks against political infrastructures. Before Sven came to the SNV, he worked for Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and was amongst other responsibilities the single point of contact for the Cyber Security Strategy 2016. He also worked for the information security staff at the Federal Foreign Office.

Svens Vortrag: How Open Technologies Thwart Encryption Policy & Government Surveillance

Secure encryption is the backbone of government communications, the digitized economy and trustworthy private exchanges. Defining encryption as an open technology can have two meanings. In the narrow sense, open encryption might refer to those tools that provide secure encryption of data and communications that are open source. Everyone can – theoretically speaking – scrutinize the underlying source code and assess whether those tools are secure or not. In the broader sense it means that everyone has free access to secure encryption tools. Right now, those tools are out there for (almost) everyone to use, be it crypto messengers such as Signal, Threema, Wire and WhatsApp or data encryption tools such as VeraCrypt.

Since the 1990s, governments tried to restrict encryption and aimed to achieve backdoor access to encrypted communications so that no one  can „go dark“, escape the all-seeing eye of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It is said that „we“ won this first crypto war and are now fighting its successor. However, it seems more likely that we have merely won the first battle in an ongoing crypto war. Whereas there are still some government voices out there that want to regulate encryption strength, others demand a skeleton key to encrypted communications and even others talk about secure ways of doing so by implementing for example a „n out k system“. Some governments, such as the German, moved the battlefield entirely to focus on government hacking. If you have full access to a smartphone or laptop, most of the time you do not need to decrypt communications or data.

Encryption as an open technology is inherently difficult to regulate and therefore led to free access to encryption tools. To a certain degree this enables us to escape domestic and foreign surveillance – but this fight is far from over.

Wann: 08.11.2017, 6pm-8pm
Sprache: Deutsch


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