The United Nation's Office of the High Commissioner released a report Thursday heralding encryption, but it was wishy-washy when it came to government-mandated backdoors to undermine encryption.
The report said:
This isn't the first time the UN weighed in on the digital age. In 2011, it declared Internet access a human right.
The latest report, by special rapporteur David Kaye, comes amid government calls—from the United States to Europe—for technology companies to provide authorities so-called backdoor access into encrypted apps and services.
The latest official to enter the backdoor chorus was National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers, who said on Wednesday that governments should be given access to encrypted products just like they do with telephone communications. "Why can't we create a similar kind of framework within the Internet and the digital age?" he asked.
The UN report said government-ordered decryption was OK if done on a "case-by-case basis":
The UN report, however, did not mention how "court-ordered decryption" could be carried out unless tech companies built backdoors into their encrypted products.
Kaye's paper, to be presented to the UN's Human Rights Council next month, did not take as hard a line as tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft did last week. The companies urged President Barack Obama not to support any US policy that would require the tech sector to install backdoors into their products so the authorities could access encrypted data.