Global Encryption Coalition Webinar:
How strong encryption is the new ‘key’ to SME success

  • Date: 8 April 2021
  • Time: 13.00-14.00 UTC
  • Register here

With big tech heavyweights increasingly edging in on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it can be hard for European companies to gain ground in the global tech market. But with user trust in big tech companies at low levels, European companies are increasingly moving to a business model centered on ensuring the security and privacy of their users. And the key to their success is strong encryption.

The good news is that building strong encryption into business practices is easier than you think. The bad news is that business rights to use it is under threat. After the Council of the European Union adopted a resolution calling for law enforcement access to encrypted communications, the European Commission has begun the process to consider legislation that would undermine the security, privacy and business success of Europeans.

In this upcoming session of the Global Encryption Coalition Webinar Series, three European tech SMEs will reveal the ways SMEs they use encryption practices to underpins their business success. They’ll also discuss why all businesses should pay attention to upcoming European encryption policy decisions, and what they can do to prevent them from harming European businesses and consumers who rely on their products worldwide.


  • Peter Budai, Vice President of Product, Tresorit
  • Hanna Bozakov, Tutanota
  • Jurgita Miseviciute, Public Policy and Government Affairs Lead, Proton Technologies AG

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What we know, and what we think we know about government phone hacking.

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Description: Six years ago, Apple and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fought in court over demands to modify their devices to provide law enforcement access to digital evidence. After managing to gain access to the Apple device with the assistance of a third party, the FBI withdrew its request to Apple to get access. In the years since the Apple-FBI case, it’s unclear just how much encrypted data governments are able to get access to – and how they do it. 

In recent months, governments’ technical capabilities to search mobile devices has come under greater scrutiny. Newly published research from academics and organizations like Upturn have cast new light on how governments may be gaining access to mobile devices and its consequences. The American Civil Liberties Union has also launched a lawsuit against the FBI, demanding they disclose records of its “technological capabilities for retrieving information from locked electronic devices.” At the same time, across the Atlantic, Europol has seemed to pour resources into government hacking with the launch of its new “Decryption Platform.”

In this virtual panel hosted by the Global Encryption Coalition, experts from academia and civil society will discuss recent revelations around government hacking, its consequences for security and privacy, and its influence on the debate around end-to-end encryption.  

  • Jennifer Granick, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Sven Herpig, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung 
  • Mallory Knodel, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Harlan Yu, Upturn

Join us on February 25th 2021 at 16:00 UTC for our virtual panel on government hacking:

Internet Governance Forum 2020 Session

Friday, 6 November, 2020 – 17:10 to 18:10 UTC

Join the Global Encryption Coalition’s session at IGF 2020! Encryption safeguards the personal security of billions of people and the national security of countries around the world. In the wake of COVID-19, this protection is more important than ever, with greater amounts of commerce, health, and everyday activities taking place digitally.

However, some are pushing to weaken encryption, which would create a dangerous precedent that compromises the security of billions of people around the world. In the last year, we’ve seen several governments pursue policies or legislation which would weaken the use of strong encryption.

Actions in one country that undermine encryption threaten us all.

Health, Encryption & COVID-19: Keeping people and countries safer online 

This global webinar series featuring world-leading security and technology experts explored how encryption is a critical tool helping people and countries navigate a global health crisis. You could learn about dangerous proposals that threaten our digital security, and how we can encourage governments and the private sector to pursue policies that enhance, strengthen and promote the use of strong encryption practices to protect citizens everywhere. 

Encryption after COVID-19: What’s Coming Up in Asia-Pacific?

Time: 14 May at 6 AM UTC (11:30 AM IST/4:00 PM AEST)

Nikhil Pahwa, Founder and Publisher, Medianama
Paul Brooks, Chair, Internet Australia
Prashanth Sugathan, Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre

Moderator: Rajnesh Singh, Regional Vice President – Asia-Pacific, Internet Society

Summary: In 2019, Australia passed the controversial Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act, granting law enforcement and security agencies power to request for access to encrypted data. In India, the government is proposing that Internet intermediaries, which include social media platforms and apps, actively filter online content and name sources of private messages—both of which involve weakening end-to-end encryption. In this session, experts weighed in on how encryption debates in Asia-Pacific might have changed amidst COVID-19. As new laws undergo scrutiny by courts and independent review bodies, we identified concrete initiatives for the global community to uphold encryption in countries where Internet security is under threat.

European Union:
Online Trust and COVID-19: What’s Next for Encryption in Europe?

Time: 14 May at 12:30 PM UTC (2:30 PM CET)

Cathrin Bauer-Bulst, Acting Head of Unit, Cybercrime, European Commission DG-HOME
Jens Henrik Jeppesen, Director-General, Center for Democracy and Technology Europe
Klaus Landefeld, Vice Chairman of the Management Board Director Infrastructure & Networks, Eco-Association of the Internet Industry

Moderator: Ceren Unal, Regional Policy Manager – Europe, Internet Society

Summary: With the efforts to curb a global health crisis increasingly pushing our lives online, encryption is more important than ever. It helps us secure our work from home, protects the integrity of information and critical health services, and allows states to quickly respond to the pandemic in a secure manner. While the EU has traditionally been in favour of encryption practices, some member states have recently created or proposed policies or laws that undermine encryption through exceptional access for law enforcement and national security purposes. This panel discussion examined critical role of encryption in navigating a pandemic, and how exceptional access proposals might hinder security, privacy and trust online, while looking into how encryption debate in the EU will be shaped post COVID era and potential challenges that may arise in the upcoming EU legislation on e-privacy and e-evidence.

Five Eyes Countries:
Five-Eyes, Encryption & COVID-19: What’s Changed and What’s Next? 

Time: 14 May at 4 PM UTC 

Andi Wilson Thompson, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Technology Initiative, New America
Matt Hatfield, Campaigns Director, Open Media
Joseph Cannataci, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy

Moderator: Sheetal Kumar, Senior Programme Lead, Global Partners Digital

Summary: In early March 2020, representatives from the five eyes governments (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States) announced a voluntary set of principles aimed at combating online child sexual exploitation. These principles may have large implications for how the Internet is run, including the use of end-to-end encryption. At the same time, each of these countries is grappling with the impact of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures being put in place. Their citizens and institutions are relying on the Internet and the security provided by encryption in their everyday lives. As these countries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, how will the debate around encryption and exceptional access look? In this panel, experts from each of the five eyes countries went over this question and more. The panelists also discussed opportunities and strategies for engagement with the Five Eyes ahead of the annual meeting this year.

Health, the Internet & COVID-19: Government Backdoor Access Proposals that Threaten Canadian Health and Security Online

Time: 14 May at 6 PM UTC (2 PM ET)

Christopher Parsons, Citizen’s Lab
Brenda McPhail, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Christopher Prince, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Moderator: Hosein Badran, Director, Internet Growth and Trust, Internet Society

Summary: While more Canadians are working from home than ever to curb the spread of COVID-19, government efforts could undermine our strongest digital tool to keep people secure online: encryption. Despite the crucial need for digital security to navigate a global health crisis, the debate on whether law enforcement should be able to access encrypted information – and in doing so threatening the security of its users- is going strong in countries including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. This panel examined the shifting global debate on backdoor access to encrypted data, the technical realities of end-to-end encryption and exceptional access, and what it could mean for Canadians security online.

Latin America and The Caribbean:
Encryption and COVID-19 in LAC: Lessons for Data Protection, Trust in the Digital Economy and Protecting the Internet’s Infrastructure

Time: 14 May at 9 PM UTC

Veridiana Alimonti, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Carlos Affonso de Souza, ITS Rio
Diego R. Canabarro, Senior Regional Policy Manager – LAC, Internet Society

Moderator: Maria Paz Canales, Derechos Digitales

Summary: The ongoing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 means that people in LAC are increasingly moving their work, education and socializing online. But even though millions of citizens rely on encryption to secure these digital interactions on a daily basis, a large part of them is not entirely aware of the complexity of technical, socioeconomic and political dimensions related to the topic. This roundtable explored how encryption had helped keep different stakeholder groups and communities more secure in the wake of COVID-19 and delved into three of those dimensions: privacy & data protection, trust in the digital economy and the protection of Internet’s infrastructure.

This webinar series was livestreamed via and on Internet Society’s Facebook page.