International Association for Cryptologic Research

International Association
for Cryptologic Research


Gijs Van Laer


Abuse Resistant Law Enforcement Access Systems 📺
The increased deployment of end-to-end encryption has ignited a debate between technology firms and law enforcement agencies over the need for lawful access to encrypted communications. Unfortunately, existing solutions to this problem suffer from serious technical risks, such as the possibility of operator abuse and theft of escrow key material. In this work we investigate the problem of constructing law enforcement access systems that mitigate the possibility of unauthorized surveillance. We first define a set of desirable properties for an abuse-resistant law enforcement access system (ARLEAS), and motivate each of these properties. We then formalize these definitions in the Universal Composability framework, and present two main constructions that realize this definition. The first construction enables {\em prospective} access, allowing surveillance only if encryption occurs after a warrant has been issued and activated. The second, more powerful construction, allows {\em retrospective} access to communications that occurred prior to a warrant's issuance. To illustrate the technical challenge of constructing the latter type of protocol, we conclude by investigating the minimal assumptions required to realize these systems.


Matthew Green (1)
Gabriel Kaptchuk (1)