Unveiling the Success of the Global Encryption Forum 2023 - European Champions Alliance
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Unveiling the Success of the Global Encryption Forum 2023

Unveiling the Success of the Global Encryption Forum 2023

Unveiling the Success of the Global Encryption Forum 2023

On the 16th of November, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Encryption Europe, sponsored by Vaultree, partnered with Trust Valley, the Economy of Trust Foundation, and Unlimitrust by SICPA to hold the Global Encryption Forum 2023. This community-gathering event focused on the pivotal role that strong encryption plays in upholding our core values and human rights by ensuring the security and privacy of data and communications.

The Need to Gather: Encryption Under Threat

In the past decade, encryption has made significant strides, almost becoming a standard for messaging services and web security. However, its implementation falls short in critical environments like the cloud, email, and collaborative solutions.

The future of encryption technologies faces potential risks with the advent of quantum computing and the increasing role of AI in processing information innovatively. Additionally, while encryption plays a crucial role in safeguarding our digital lives and economies against threats like criminal activities and nation-state espionage, it is also under threat from emerging regulations, even in democratic countries.

Diversity of Discourse: A Mix of Solutions Providers, Academia, NGOs, and Startups

What set the Global Encryption Forum 2023 apart was its diverse attendee base, ranging from solutions providers and academia to NGOs, cloud providers, and startups. This mix proved to be the right one as it fostered rich discussions and the cross-pollination of ideas. Participants predominantly hailed from Switzerland, with notable attendees travelling from France, Belgium, and Germany. Thanks to this, together, speakers and the audience were able to address emerging threats to encryption, different types of technologies, such as homomorphic encryption, and what to expect from the oncoming advent of quantum computing. All of this underscored how compromising encryption jeopardises the values of privacy and confidentiality on which democratic governments are built.

Quantitative Success: 70+ Engaged Participants

The event was a resounding success with more than 70 participants actively engaged throughout the day, a substantial number for such a specialised domain. This event marked a significant achievement for Encryption Europe as we continue to gather and strengthen the encryption community in Europe.

Use-Case Focus: Health, Banking, Journalists

This diversity ensured that discussions not only delved into real-world scenarios, but also covered a broad range of use cases, namely the health sector, banking, telecommunications, and even journalism. For instance, a presentation that resonated with the crowd was EPFL’s Prof. Jean-Pierre Hubaux’s exploration of the need to combine Homomorphic Encryption and Secure Multiparty Computation to allow doctors and scientists to work on encrypted datasets while ensuring the security of patient data. This could open the doorway for privacy-conscious efficient data collaborations in the health sector and beyond.

The Path Forward

Since Encryption Europe was founded in 2019, with the assistance of the Luxembourg House of Cybersecurity, we have worked to assist our member companies and other European encryption SMEs to promote best practices and defend encryption from regulation that might encroach on the rights that privacy-enabling tools bring.

Throughout the last few years, we have noted that the highly technical nature of encryption and conversations surrounding criminal use of these technologies has led some providers to shy away from explicitly advertising their products as being encrypted — often relying on security-focused euphemisms instead. Additionally, at major expos, there is little visibility for these tools that comprise a key component of cybersecurity. While this is slowly getting better, and the recent adoption of end-to-end encryption in popular chat applications is helping shape public attitudes, we have spoken with companies in France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Germany to determine what they believe should be done.

These conversations were extremely fruitful and revealed that customers and interested parties are screaming out for use cases that better help them understand encryption technologies and their relevance for different sectors. Not only will this help spread nuanced understandings of encryption tools across sectors, but it will also provide the foundations for regulations supporting the deployment of encryption on a sector-by-sector basis.

In this way, we are seeking to help our member companies and partners in building up use cases going forward and promoting the implementation of encryption in Europe. There will always be a need for a robust defence of these technologies, but there is also the need for positive conversation and examples that can create a better understanding

Make sure to keep an eye out as we endeavour over 2024 to build positive use cases and work with partners like the ECA to champion European cybersecurity and encryption.

Andrea Vaugan