A Republican Bill Would Weaken Encryption Just When We Need It Most

"Privacy advocates were skeptical that the federal government would be satisfied with just unlocking seized phones, though, and LAEDA’s requirement of lawful access to any encrypted data proves them right. Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, wrote in her analysis of the bill that she “did not believe for a single moment that law enforcement or Congress would settle for only regulating encryption as to devices and not data in transit.” Pfefferkorn told me she believes the push now to regulate messaging in addition to encrypted devices is at least in part a reaction to Facebook’s 2019 announcement that the company would add E2EE to all of its messaging products. This new bill also comes hot on the heels of another proposal that critics say is secretly designed to kill strong consumer encryption, called the EARN IT bill, and the ambitious scope of LAEDA may be designed to make EARN IT look reasonable by comparison."