Republican members of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday introduced the Access to Encrypted Data Act, which aims to weaken encryption technology that has hampered law enforcement actions in the past,media AppleInsider reported. Proponents call the bill a means of strengthening national security interests and “better protect communities across the country” by ending the “warrant-proof” encryption used by terrorists and bad actors.
If enacted, the law would force technology companies to help agencies obtain encrypted data to obtain search warrants.
Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senators Tom and Cotton Marsha Blackburn introduced the bill. “Technology companies are increasingly dependent on encryption and have turned their platforms into a new, lawless playground for criminal activity. Criminals, from child predators to terrorists, are making the most of it. Cotton said. “The bill will ensure that law enforcement can access encrypted material with a warrant for reasonable reason and help end the Wild West crime on the Internet.”
U.S. government entities, or law enforcement agencies, have long tried to dismantle strong encryption methods, including end-to-end message encryption, device encryption, and other forms of personal data security, to simplify investigations. Critics and technology companies that sell encryption products, such as Apple, argue that strong encryption is an important gear in data privacy machines and that users are vulnerable if weakened.
“Terrorists and criminals often use technology, whether smartphones, apps or other means, to coordinate and communicate their daily activities. In recent history, we have experienced many cases of terrorism and serious criminal activity, and even after the court order, we have no access to important information. Unfortunately, technology companies refuse to comply with these court orders and refuse to assist law enforcement in their investigations. Graham said in a statement.
Although no name was mentioned, Apple in 2016 refused to comply with the FBI’s request to create a “back door” for the iPhone linked to a terror suspect. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, called the request “dangerous.” He noted that installing a “back door” on a single device would compromise the safety of millions of people.
Still, U.S. government agencies are holding on. “My position is clear: after law enforcement has the necessary court authorization, they should be able to retrieve information to assist in their investigation,” Graham said. “Our legislation respects and protects the right to privacy of law-abiding Americans. It also lets terrorists and criminals know that they will no longer be able to hide behind technology to cover their tracks. “
Although Apple strongly opposes the creation of a “backdoor”, it will still comply with court orders and valid data warrants under existing laws. Tuesday’s proposal includes a provision that would allow the attorney general to hold a contest to reward those who discover ways to access encrypted data while “maximizing privacy and security.” As CNET points out, security experts have long argued that this concept is impossible.
“The bill announced today balances the privacy interests of consumers with the public safety interests of the community and requires consumer equipment manufacturers to provide law enforcement with access to encrypted data when authorized by a judge,” U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement, CNET reported. I believe that our world-class technology companies can design secure products that protect user information and allow legitimate access. “
The proposed bill is the latest attempt to weaken powerful encryption technologies developed by big technology companies. Last year, the White House mulled support for a ban on end-to-end encryption. Recently, Apple, Facebook and other companies have been threatened with weakening Section 230 protections if they continue to block malicious content behind encryption protocols.