Proposed U.S. anti-encryption "laughable" | What's Left

by Editors (What's Left) last modified 2016-05-09T10:04:33-04:00
Does anyone really trust US law makers to "get it right" when it comes to digital privacy issues? It is a sad state of affairs where the private US technology sector and the US government have such internally contradictory and competing interests. What is needed is an informed debate, but the world is doubtful that can happen in the US today.

The U.S. Senate is posed to introduce new laws that would require tech companies to ensure they have the ability to access any information recorded or communicated using any of their products or services. The proposed language completely misunderstands how encryption and the legal system work.

In a pair of blog posts, Julian Sanchez tears into the legislation's underlying assumptions. He rejects the argument that companies like Apple think they are "above the law" when they refuse to take orders from the FBI. On the contrary, as he points out, their objections have been made through legal appeals – they are actually working entirely within the law.

He then elaborates on how laughable it is that the government would even consider requiring companies to build "backdoors" into their encryption systems. Sometimes a criminal will shred all the evidence, sometimes they'll flush it down the toilet, sometimes they'll encrypt it. In all cases, it's possible to effectively destroy evidence. Legislators may try to argue that encryption undermines the rule of law, but in the same way "claiming that toilets therefore undermine the Rule of Law would be laughed out of the room".

Feinstein-Burr, Encryption, and "The Rule of Law"

Feinstein-Burr: The Bill That Bans Your Browser

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