Will Strong Encryption Protect Privacy and Make Government Obsolete?
Tuesday, April 24, 2001
Held at The Independent Institute Conference Center
David D. Friedman
Professor of Law, Santa Clara University
Author, Law’s Order: What Economics Has to Do With Law and Why It Matters
Many people have wondered how technological progress will affect political, economic, and civil freedoms. With the rise of encryption software, the National Security Agency’s Echelon worldwide surveillance system, and the FBI’s Carnivore e-mail snooping program, this subject is no longer the exclusive domain of speculative thinkers or futurists, it is the subject of intense public-policy debate. Will privacy-enhancing technology improve faster than privacy-threatening technology? Should the government mandate privacy standards? Should it enforce contracts in cyberspace, or would private law do a better job? Economist, physicist, and legal scholar David Friedman discussed these and related questions about technological change and the case for and against government involvement.