The Second Crypto War—What's Different Now

Susan Landau, Bridge Professor of Cyber Security and Policy, Tufts University


The First Crypto War were fought over end-to-end encryption for communications, and appeared largely over as a result of the EU's and US's loosening of export regulations in the late 1990s. The Second Crypto War, which began rearing its head shortly after the First Crypto War ended, appears to be about end-to-end encryption and locked mobile devices. It looks as if law enforcement is seeking exceptional access—access to encrypted communications and secured devices—through regulation or legislation.

But things are seldom as they seem, and so it is with the Second Crypto War. I'll discuss why the fight is really over locked devices, the security risks involved should law enforcement's desires win out, and why end-to-end encrypted communications are here to stay.

Susan Landau, Bridge Professor of Cyber Security and Policy, Tufts University

Susan Landau is Bridge Professor of Cyber Security and Policy at Tufts University. Landau has testified before Congress and frequently briefed US and European policymakers on encryption, surveillance, and cybersecurity issues. Landau has been a Senior Staff Privacy Analyst at Google, a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems, and a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Wesleyan University. She is a member of the Cybersecurity Hall of Fame, and an AAAS and ACM Fellow.

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@inproceedings {219985,
author = {Susan Landau},
title = {The Second Crypto {War{\textemdash}What{\textquoteright}s} Different Now},
booktitle = {27th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 18)},
year = {2018},
isbn = {978-1-939133-04-5},
address = {Baltimore, MD},
url = {},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,

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