Regardless of your acknowledgment of it or not, there is an ongoing battle for your privacy happening right in front of your eyes. If you think anyone on capitol hill cares about your right to privacy or your Fourth amendment rights you will be sad to hear the truth, you are wrong, and its not even close. Three Republicans have put up a Bill called the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act. The Senators responsible for the Bill are Lindsey Graham (SC), Tom Cotton (AR), and Marsha Blackburn (TN).
The Bill is nothing short of the next step in the government’s overreach on dictating how technology companies need to build in backdoors and hand over access keys so that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and anyone else in line with a government pass can access your private communications on all the platforms that you chat on. This isn’t a new argument either, it is the same old playbook they have been using since the Patriot Act. (which is why they called it the “patriot act” in the first place, the clear implication of supporting it meant you were a patriot). Here we are approaching nearly twenty years later and the same tired argument is being called upon. The government needs “Big Tech” to help them catch the “bad guys” and of course the primary bad players in these arguments are the countless terrorists that are potentially leveraging privacy-focused apps and platforms to plan and execute diabolical plans to hurt American citizens and her interests around the globe.
To be clear, this is not just a likelihood, I’m certain that this is happening and even as you read these words there is a criminal or terrorist alike using private messaging and end to end encryption apps to help protect themselves from detection and or potential prosecution. That is not what is up for debate, or what is at stake here. Technology, when used correctly, can help protect peoples fourth amendment rights and beyond, and there is no way that capability can be magically excluding of bad actors in this space. This Bill directly targets major App creators and is trying to claim that they all have a responsibility to build in this backdoor access to make it easy and fast for the government to gain access to these communications and devices. The biggest issue beyond the fact that merely building applications with these capabilities create gapping holes of vulnerabilities and leave the corporations and users open for multiple attack vectors that would not exist otherwise, it gets even worse when you look at the reality. That reality being that small market app creators and open source software is constantly being created to help solve the privacy and security issues that persist today. This means that anyone who wants to actually have end to end encrypted calls and texts is even more readily accessible than ever and it is not a shrinking reality, it’s an accelerating one.
This Bill is a classic representation of the pie in the sky idealistic garbage that truly highlights all the things wrong with the federal government in modern times. Thinking you can contain and control things that you dont understand is a perfect encapsulation of 2020 as it stands. These senators see a problem and want to fix it, only issue is they don’t understand the problem in the first place, and instead of helping solve any of the issues they intend to solve, they are willingly putting the privacy of all of the Americans who use these Apps on the chopping block without worry or fear of the long term consequences. It isn’t 1984, it’s 2084 and your privacy is at stake.