Remember when the American government accused Huawei of being a security risk? Now the government (full text of the bill can be found here) wants every company that makes encrypted devices and operating systems to give them the key to decrypt people’s data, effectively making these companies a security risk for their consumers.
US lawmakers have introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act to ensure law enforcement can access encrypted information. This bill is “a full-frontal nuclear assault on encryption in the United States,” one expert says. It requires manufacturers of encrypted devices and operating systems to have the ability to decrypt data upon request, creating a backdoor requirement.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and U.S. Senators Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act on Tuesday. The new bill “would bring an end to warrant-proof encryption in devices, platforms, and systems,” the committee’s announcement reads.
“Terrorists and criminals routinely use technology, whether smartphones, apps, or other means, to coordinate and communicate their daily activities,” Senator Graham said. He claims that law enforcement could not access “vital information” in many recent “terrorism cases and serious criminal activity” even after a court order was issued. Senator Cotton elaborated, “Tech companies’ increasing reliance on encryption has turned their platforms into a new, lawless playground of criminal activity,” adding:
“This bill will ensure law enforcement can access encrypted material with a warrant based on probable cause and help put an end to the Wild West of crime on the internet.”
Terrorist and criminals routinely use the internet to communicate and organize, so we need to make sure that we can access the data of every internet-enabled device.
Also, the criminals communicate face to face too, so we need every citizen to carry at all times a microphone that will be sending real-time audio data to law enforcement in order to determine the lawfulness of their face-to-face communications.
It would be similar to how police officers have to carry their body cam around.
The bill also “allows the Attorney General to issue directives to service providers and device manufacturers to report on their ability to comply with court orders, including timelines for implementation,” the committee’s announcement reveals. “The Government would be responsible for compensating the recipient of a directive for reasonable costs incurred in complying with the directive.”
Furthermore, the committee noted that the bill “Promotes technical and lawful access training and provides real-time assistance” and “Directs the Attorney General to create a prize competition to award participants who create a lawful access solution in an encrypted environment, while maximizing privacy and security.”
Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, calls the bill “a full-frontal nuclear assault on encryption in the United States.” She exclaimed:
“This bill is the encryption backdoor mandate we’ve been dreading was coming, but that nobody, during the past six years of the renewed crypto wars, had previously dared to introduce. Well, these three senators finally went there.”
Andi Wilson Thompson, senior policy analyst at New America’s Open Technology Institute, shares the sentiment, explaining: “This bill is just another attack on encryption, and trying to portray it as a ‘balanced solution’ that could protect privacy is just an attempt to distract from its true intent.” Thompson focuses on issues including digital security, vulnerabilities equities, encryption, and internet freedom.
The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act “is actually even more out of touch with reality than many other recent anti-encryption bills,” said Andrew Crocker, a senior staff attorney on the civil liberties team of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). He added that the new bill is “even worse than EARN IT,” which he described as “a dangerous anti-speech and anti-security bill that would hand a government commission, led by the Attorney General, the power to determine ‘best practices’ online.”
The timing here is interesting, what with the WHO demanding aggressive tracking of people and people being distracted with Black Lives Matter protests or too fatigued to be paying attention due to the lockdown and coronavirus hoax.
Even if the bill is scrapped, they’ll try again later. They have a history of trying again and again until they get what they want.
This whole thing about needing to track people because of a virus that is no more threatening than the flu, talking about mass vaccinations, immunity certificates, and making sure that people respect the lockdown fits perfectly with their goal of having total access to people’s information.
No more rights and no more privacy. Those risk people’s lives. Safety is the only thing that matters, and the government knows exactly how to keep you safe.