Global ICT Industry Opposes Backdoor Decryption

Canberra, 8 March 2016:  Global IT industry body WITSA today issued a strong statement, saying the ICT industry cannot and will not support or cooperate in the development of “backdoor” decryption technologies.

Speaking at the AIIA’s Summit: Navigating Privacy and Security, WITSA Director Tim Conway, who spoke on behalf of WITSA Chairman Santiago Gutierrez, said such developments would make the world a much less safe place.

“They undermine trust and confidence, with serious economic and social consequences.”

“Strong encryption means the trillions of daily transactions of billions of customers and users globally are handled safely and confidentially, maintaining the privacy and integrity of the information transacted,” Mr Gutierrez stated.

“A government or judicial mandate to weaken this via “backdoor” decryption capabilities, even on one device or system, necessarily weakens all devices and systems – including those of governments.”

“The inherent propagative nature of networked digital technologies means such vulnerability cannot be limited to a single device or system, a single criminal or terrorist, or, indeed, a single government,” he explained.

Mr Gutierrez emphasized the ICT industry wanted to work constructively with law enforcement agencies.

“We will do what SGF_croppedwe can do, to assist in prevention, detection and prosecution of malevolent activities using ICTs.  What we can’t do is make everything weaker, and more vulnerable to those very activities.”

He explained the ICT industry faced a double-bind on this issue:

“On the one hand, we must develop and continuously enhance secure systems that protect valuable, intimate information of our customers – including governments – to maintain their trust and confidence in these systems, and of the transactions, services and businesses based upon them; on the other, we must assist law enforcement and security services in the detection and prosecution of malevolent activities.”

Mr Gutierrez said the industry was facing a serious conundrum:

“Should we undermine the former to enable the latter?  The industry’s answer, the only logical answer, is no – we cannot, and we must not”

“I hope, from the ICT industry perspective, this opens the way for closer dialogue and cooperation with governments and law enforcement agencies. We need a 21st Century approach to a 21st Century problem.”   ENDS

 See the speech in full here.

About WITSA:

The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is the leading recognized international voice of the global ICT industry, whose members from over 80 countries and economies represent more than 90 percent of the world ICT market. WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance industry growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in ICT products and services; strengthening WITSA’s national industry associations; and providing members with a broad network of professional contacts.

WITSA members are leaders in a globally interconnected marketplace. Because the challenges facing the ICT industry are undisputedly global in nature, WITSA members work together to achieve a shared vision on important issues of common interest. WITSA makes it possible for its members — ranging from Mongolia and Argentina to Kenya and the United States — to identify common issues and priorities, exchange valuable information, and present a united position on industry issues. For more information on WITSA, please visit

Contact:  Tim Conway M: +61 (0)410 628 655  E:

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment