In a bizarre and draconian move, a handful of US senators, including Republican Lindsey Graham, recently introduced an anti-encryption bill, which would make backdoors mandatory. If passed, the bill would allow the government to force companies to decrypt data when requested by law enforcement officials. The legislation is not designed to curtail activity on dark net markets, per se, but to provide legal authorities with the ability to access all information in any encrypted device. Currently, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant for data that is stored on a physical device, like a phone or computer. They also have to apply for a second court order requiring the service provider to assist in the data recovery. The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act will break security protocols, argue opponents, which will only give hackers and state sponsored agents an open door to invade the average user’s privacy on their digital devices.
There are no commissions designed to be involved to safeguard government overreach into citizen’s lives, nor is there any indication that the senators have taken time to uphold best practices for data decryption. The result of such legislation will be a loss of confidence in Silicon Valley’s products and software, especially in foreign markets. The idea that the US government could be spying on people across the world, without their knowledge, is enough to hurt sales of American made phones, computers, and software. Ironically, it was this very issue with Huawaei, that caused an uproar in the States.
It remains to be seen how this bill progresses, but it is not the first, and certainly will not be the last of its type.