IPRI hosted Robert Hannigan, the head of the British intelligence agency GCHQ, at MIT in March 2016. He met for most of the day with researchers and then gave a public speech to a group of about 150 people on campus. He spoke at length about encryption and the IPRI Keys Under Doormats report. He said he hopes technology companies and academic researchers will find ways to let government investigators get into encrypted devices without creating broad “back doors” that undermine computer security. He also spoke of how law enforcement and intelligence officials want only targeted ways to stop what he called “abuse of encryption” by ISIS and other terrorists and criminals. “It should be possible for technical experts to sit down together and work out solutions,” he said. “I am not in favor of banning encryption. Nor am I asking for mandatory back doors. … Not everything is a back door, still less a door which can be exploited outside a legal framework.”

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