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Technology Can Make Lawful Surveillance Both Open and Effective


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A surveillance camera.

Newly developed technology could allow law enforcement agencies to identify people whose actions justify investifation, demonstrate probable cause via an electronic warrant, and gain access to unencrypted surveillance data.

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Yale University professors Bryan Ford and Joan Feigenbaum have developed technology that could enable law enforcement agencies to identify people whose actions justify closer investigation and demonstrate probable cause via an authorized electronic warrant in order to gain access to unencrypted surveillance data or employ secret analysis processes.

They say the technology is based on modern cryptography standards, and could enable agencies to find and extract warrant-authorized data about persons of interest, while guarding the secrecy of the investigation and the privacy of innocent users.

Ford and Feigenbaum note the system's design ensures that no sensitive data may be decrypted without the use of multiple keys held by independent authorities, such as the law enforcement agency, the authorizing judge, and a legislative oversight body. In addition, they say their approach can target both known and unknown users, as well as unknown associates of known targets.

The researchers say this and other cryptographic methods could facilitate the legitimate pursuit of criminals and terrorists while protecting the general public's privacy.

From Technology Review
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