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Encryption: how can companies balance privacy and the law?

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This week, Canada’s fourteen privacy commissioners made a public declaration against increasing the government’s ability to decipher encrypted devices.

According to the Globe and Mail, the group was led by federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien who stated that:

“This is not the time to further expand state powers and reduce individual rights. This is the time to enhance both legal standards and oversight to ensure we do not repeat past mistakes and achieve real balance between security and respect for basic individual rights… We have seen too many cases of inappropriate and sometimes illegal conduct by state officials that have impacted on the rights of ordinary citizens not suspected of criminal or terrorist activities.”

He also went on to say encryption technology benefits honest Canadians who want a secure means of communications. “Encryption is a benefit for the population at large.”

We could not agree with Mr. Therrien more.

The Privacy Commissioner’s comments were made following the publication of a green paper by the Public Safety Ministry which asked:

  • If the Government were to consider options to address the challenges encryption poses in law enforcement and national security investigations, in what circumstances, if any, should investigators have the ability to compel individuals or companies to assist with decryption?
  • How can law enforcement and national security agencies reduce the effectiveness of encryption for individuals and organizations involved in crime or threats to the security of Canada, yet not limit the beneficial uses of encryption by those not involved in illegal activities?

Should the government have the ability to force individuals or companies to break their own encryption without evidence of wrong doing? No.

Can the government effectively allow encryption for legal activities but stop it for illegal ones? Yes – by requiring that encryption can be broken when ordered by a court with jurisdiction and requiring that service providers maintain auditable records of communications and the ability to provide transparency when required.

It is important to a strike the balance between protection of privacy and the legitimate needs of law enforcement. Such a balance is the basis on which Evizone’s products were built.

Evizone Secure Communications (ESC), our patented communications platform, provides the strongest security commercially available to protect privacy.

Evizone Communications Governance (ECG) is an enterprise message archiving tool (compliance and eDiscovery). ECG provides electronic communications transparency for organizations dealing with any sort of regulatory body or legal issue and shows proof of supervision.

Organizations are encouraged to cooperate with law enforcement when there are legitimate security concerns. ECG allows a company to quickly collect records and information within a system and automatically create a report to deal with a matter internally or share it with the authorities. It makes the task of cooperation much faster, easier and more effective. The automatically generated reports only include the information necessary to cooperate with an authorities’ request.

Privacy is paramount – the government should not have the ability to willfully infringe on fundamental rights. Yet when it comes to encryption, companies must have tools available to them to cooperate with the authorities and demonstrate proof of supervision. With Evizone, they do.

About Evizone Ltd.
Evizone Ltd. is a revolutionary secure communications, encryption and compliance software and service provider based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Evizone offers innovative enterprise solutions in secure messaging (next generation beyond encrypted e mail) and encryption, encryption at rest, regulatory compliance, compliance archiving, WORM compliance, 17a-4 compliance, document life cycle management and communications governance and risk management. Evizone’s services protect organizations through best in class security, encryption, recipient controls, document life cycle management, discovery management, compliance management, compliance archiving, tamper proof WORM and 17a-4 compliance archiving and complete audit records against the enormous damage caused by communications breaches. Evizone’s patented technologies offer a level of security impossible to obtain with conventional or encrypted email and fast, powerful, user friendly compliance archiving. Evizone’s services are immediately available on multiple platforms and provide the strongest commercially available communications security and compliance archiving. You can follow Evizone on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Tom Kott, HATLEY Strategy Advisors, 514.316.7082,


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