Riana Pfefferkorn is the Cryptography Fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Her work, made possible through funding from the Stanford Cyber Initiative, focuses on investigating and analyzing the U.S. government's policy and practices for forcing decryption and/or influencing crypto-related design of online platforms and services, devices, and products, both via technical means and through the courts and legislatures. Riana also researches the benefits and detriments of strong encryption on free expression, political engagement, economic development, and other public interests.
Prior to joining Stanford, Riana was an associate in the Internet Strategy & Litigation group at the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where she worked on litigation and counseling matters involving online privacy, Internet intermediary liability, consumer protection, copyright, trademark, and trade secrets and was actively involved in the firm's pro bono program. Before that, Riana clerked for the Honorable Bruce J. McGiverin of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico. She also interned during law school for the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Riana earned her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Whitman College.
High Res Photo of Riana Pfefferkorn
On September 18, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed a new policy for collecting immigrants’ social media information.
In September 2016, we filed a Petition in the Northern District of California (the federal district court for the Bay Area and much of Northern California) asking the court to unseal years’ worth of surveillance matters filed there. We had our first hearing before the court on May 4.
Researchers at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society (CIS) filed a petition yesterday seeking to unseal judicial records in San Francisco federal district court. Their goal is to reveal how the federal government uses U.S. law to obligate smartphone manufacturers and Internet companies to decrypt private user data, turn over encryption keys, or otherwise assist law enforcement with digital surveillance.
Arguing that if the court should not compel Apple to create software to enable unlocking and search of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, it will jeopardize digital and personal security more generally.
Abstract. Federal law enforcement officials in the United States have recently renewed their periodic demands for legislation to regulate encryption. While they offer few technical specifics, their general proposal—that vendors must retain the ability to decrypt for law enforcement the devices they manufacture or communications their services transmit—presents intractable problems that would-be regulators must not ignore.
Last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave a speech about encryption that prompted a considerable amount of well-deserved blowback. His speech rehashed a number of long-discredited technical proposals for “solving” the “going dark” problem, and it also misstated the law.
Encryption shields private information from malicious eavesdroppers. After years of slow adoption, encryption is finally becoming widespread in consumer-oriented electronic devices and communications services. Consumer-oriented encryption software is now more user-friendly, and much of it turns on encryption by default. These advances enhance privacy and security for millions of people.
"Riana Pfefferkorn, the cryptography fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told Motherboard in an email, “Officers should not be buying malware on their own dime for use at work—and using their official email address in the process.
"Not so fast, says Riana Pfefferkorn, a cryptography fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Many employees regularly co-mingle their personal life with their professional devices—using their work-issued laptop or mobile phone to log in to social-media accounts, correspond with family and friends, and shop online for the holidays, for example. Corporate-owned devices, she says, are often chock-full of personal data—and removing it isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
"The days of unfettered access to internet content are over, Riana Pfefferkorn of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society told government representatives during a panel dedicated to state interference in encryption, organised by Brazil’s registry Nic.br and CGI.br at the 12th Internet Governance Forum this week in Geneva. “Governments have to adapt,” the cryptography researcher said."
"Ms Riana Pfefferkorn, Fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society in the USA, argued that while governments suggest companies should live up to their responsibilities, it remains unclear what exactly these responsibilities are. Internet companies have responsibilities towards Internet users as well as to law enforcement. For Pfefferkorn, the debate on weakening encryption is over, since the technology is out there for anyone.
"In this excerpt from an interview on Law.com’s “Unprecedented” podcast, Stanford Law cryptography fellow Riana Pfefferkorn talks about the Department of Justice’s new push for “responsible encryption” and whether it could lead to new legislation.
Registration is required for this free event.
With the DOJ recently bringing back the "Going Dark" debate, and now calling for "responsible encryption," what does the Trump administration have to say about strong crypto? Do we know yet? Do they?
If there's anyone who might be able to figure that out, it's Riana Pfefferkorn.
"While the battle against encryption has been going on within federal law enforcement circles (dubbed "going dark") since at least the early 1990s, Rosenstein has now called for "responsible encryption."
Lecture held during the First International Congress of Fundamental Rights and Criminal Procedure in the Digital Age, organized by InternetLab in partnership with the Faculty of Law of the University of São Paulo.
Cryptography Fellow Riana Pfefferkorn gave a lecture titled "The American debate on surveillance and encryption".
In this digital day and age we’re grappling with questions like:
- What are the key digital policy issues that matter to nonprofits in 2017?
- What are the most pressing challenges to nonprofits and activists?
- What should nonprofits, foundations and community activists know about? How can they get involved? And what should they be doing to keep themselves and their communities safe?
This event will help inform and open a conversation on this topic with our audience of foundation and nonprofit leaders, students, philanthropists and more.