Just recently, the US Senators have introduced a new Bill called Lawful Access To Encrypted Data Act forcing encrypted device manufacturers and operating system manufacturers to leave a backdoor allowing law enforcement to access encrypted information.
The result of this Bill is to allow the US authorities to access encrypted device data upon demand.
The purpose of this Bill is to provide ammunition to the US government and authorities to fight terrorists and criminals using technology to perpetrate their attacks.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham said:
“terrorists and criminals routinely use technology, whether smartphones, apps, or other means, to coordinate and communicate their daily activities.”
Privacy issues with the Lawful Access To Encrypted Data Act
The Lawful Access To Encrypted Data Act poses privacy concerns that are obvious.
Individuals looking to have additional privacy online have relied on the encryption technology and capabilities allowing for much greater control and protection of their data.
However, with Lawful Access To Encrypted Data Act, end-users will no longer have the certainty that their data has been fully encrypted and so there may be a privacy right issue to consider.
More importantly, the backdoor required on devices and operating systems can be exploited maliciously to attack the data and perpetuate additional crimes or illegal acts using unencrypted information.
Attorney General’s power to issue directives
The Bill allows the Attorney General to issue directives to organizations with respect to reporting obligations on their ability to comply with court orders.
The Judiciary Committee also indicates that the Bill will promote a prize competition to award participants who create a lawful access solution of encrypted information while maintaining privacy.
Andrew Crocker from Electronic Frontier Foundation states that:
“the bill is sweeping in scope. It gives the government the ability to demand these backdoors in connection with a wide range of surveillance orders in criminal and national security cases, including Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”
He then adds:
“not only does the bill disregard the security of users, it allows the government to support its need for a backdoor with one-sided secret evidence, any time it feels a public court proceeding would harm national security or ‘enforcement of criminal law.”
Let’s see how this Bill will navigate through the American legislative process.
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