Jul 072020
 July 7, 2020  Posted by  Surveillance, U.S.

Trisha Anderson, Alexander Berengaut, Jim Garland and Chloe Goodwin of Covington & Burling write:

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) have introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, a bill that would require tech companies to assist law enforcement in executing search warrants that seek encrypted data.  The bill would apply to law enforcement efforts to obtain data at rest as well as data in motion.  It would also apply to both criminal and national security legal process.  This proposal comes in the wake of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s December 2019 hearing on encryption and lawful access to data.  According to its sponsors, the purpose of the bill is to “end[] the use of ‘warrant-proof’ encrypted technology . . . to conceal illicit behavior.”

Read more on InsidePrivacy.  You can read Attorney General Barr’s statement on the bill here.

The bill’s provisions are just the latest attempt to end encryption by making it less secure for all in the name of assisting law enforcement.  As EPIC wrote a few weeks ago:

The bill would would make it illegal for manufacturers to build systems that cannot be accessed by law enforcement. EPIC strongly opposes this measure. “The Lawful Access To Encrypted Data Act will make it easier for bad actors to access people’s communications. You cannot build a backdoor that only law enforcement can access. That’s not how encryption works,” said Alan Butler, EPIC Interim Executive Director. EPIC recently told the Senate Judiciary Committee that “now is not the time to undermine the systems that we all rely upon to secure our data and communications.”

See also EFF’s objections to the bill and Stanford CIS’s preliminary comments.

There’s a lot going on in our country these days.  Don’t let Congress sneak this through while we’re not watching.

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