Gill on Law, Metaphor, and the Encrypted Machine @citizenlab

Lex Gill, University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, Citizen Lab, has published Law, Metaphor and the Encrypted Machine. Here is the abstract. The metaphors we use to imagine, describe and regulate new technologies have profound legal implications. This paper offers a critical examination of the metaphors we choose to describe encryption technology in particular, and aims to uncover some of the normative and legal implications of those choices. Part I provides a basic description of encryption as a mathematical and technical process. At the heart of this paper is a question about what encryption is to the law. It is therefore fundamental that readers have a shared understanding of the basic scientific concepts at stake. This technical description will then serve to illustrate the host of legal and political problems arising from encryption technology, the most important of which are addressed in Part II. That section also provides a brief history of various…

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