Andrew Keane Woods

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Tech Firms Are Not Sovereigns

by Andrew Keane Woodsvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

It is increasingly common to hear that the sovereigns that reign over the Internet are Internet firms—the companies that set user policies and wield enormous influence over the day-to-day functioning of the Internet. The user base of these firms can be larger than many countries. They have foreign policy teams and have even engaged in experiments with user-driven self-governance. In many ways, they look like states. But firms are not sovereigns.  Some public-facing Internet firms may find it expedient to resist some states, some of the time on some issues. But this does not mean that Internet firms are a serious and lasting threat to state sovereignty. Treating them as such is a distraction from the real problem: determining how and with what limits states—sovereign nations—ought to be able to achieve their aims online.

Analysis and Commentary

Encryption Substitutes

by Andrew Keane Woodsvia Lawfare
Friday, July 21, 2017

In a recently published piece for the Hoover Institution's Aegis Paper Series, I argue that the “going dark” debate ought to be considered in the context of the larger debate over government access to data. Encryption is not the only game in town: just as law enforcement can pursue a number of different alternatives to mandating encryption backdoors, so too can privacy advocates take steps beyond encrypting their data to ensure their privacy.

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Encryption Substitutes

by Andrew Keane Woodsvia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This paper argues that the “going dark” debate ought to be considered in context of the larger debate over government access to data. Encryption is not the only game in town: just as law enforcement can pursue a number of different alternatives to mandating encryption backdoors, so too can privacy advocates take steps beyond encrypting their data to ensure their privacy.  Acknowledging these substitutes—both for law enforcement and for privacy seekers—generates a number of insights. For example, comprehensive reform may make more sense than serial reforms, since it would allow for issue linkage and deal-making.