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Government intervention in cryptography, for government, the business sector and private individuals.

Around the world, governments are introducing laws which either limit or prohibit the availability of cryptography for their citizens, require key escrow (c.f. the Clipper chip), or require telecommunications and Internet service providers and software developers to somehow break or weaken cryptography in their products, perhaps by introducing ‘back doors’ or other vulnerabilities (e.g. the Assistance and Access Act (Cwlth) 2018).

Take a position for or against government intervention in cryptography, for government, the business sector and private individuals. In each case, you should briefly describe and weigh up the positive benefits of cryptography as well as the threats it poses. Should governments have the power to prohibit or break encryption?

There are obvious implications for confidentiality and privacy, but what about the other security properties such as integrity, entity authenticity, integrity, anonymity, fairness, etc.?

What are the implications of any weakening of protocols or the introduction of back doors? Are there other, perhaps more important, threats to democracy and individual liberties in cyberspace?

You should take into account:

  • Changes in the cryptologic landscape over the next 25 years or so
  • The geo-political threat landscape
  • The ethical and moral objectives society expects of its members
  • Other threats to individual liberty, the production of business, and the health of society

Your submission should:

  • be original work – in other words, your own thoughts on the matter
  • be approximately 1500 words long (longer is OK, as long as it’s interesting)
  • not be boring or superficial
  • take the form of a PDF file (no MS Word .docx – have a little pride, people)
  • provide references in IEEE with URL format

Marking Criteria: marks will be awarded for:

  • Technical insight and accuracy
  • Soundness of reasoning and argument
  • Research and reading evidenced by references

Resubmissions are allowed, which means that no similarity score will be available until after the due date.

By uploading your submisssion, you declare the following:

  • This assessment is my own work, based on my personal study and/or research;
  • I have acknowledged all material and sources used in the preparation of this assessment, including any material generated in the course of my employment;
  • If this assessment was based on collaborative preparatory work, as approved by the teachers of the unit,
  • I have not submitted substantially the same final version of any material as another student;
  • Neither the assessment, nor substantial parts of it, have been previously submitted for assessment in this or any other institution;
  • You have not copied in part, or in whole, or otherwise plagiarised the work of other students;
  • I have read and I understand the criteria used for assessment;
  • The assessment is within the word and page limits specified in the unit outline;
  • The use of any material in this assessment does not infringe the intellectual property / copyright of a third party;
  • I understand that this assessment may undergo electronic detection for plagiarism, and a copy of the assessment may be retained in a database and used to make comparisons with other assessments in future. Work retained in a database is anonymous and will not be able to be matched to an individual student;
  • I take full responsibility for the correct submission of this assessment and I have retained a duplicate copy of this assessment

This declaration is a summary of the University policy on plagiarism. For the policy in full,
please refer to http://www.mq.edu.au/academichonesty or the Student Information in the


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