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EFFector - Volume 29, Issue 10 - Encryption under attack

EFFector! Electronic Frontier Foundation

In our 697th issue:

Don’t Let Congress Dismantle Encryption

In most issues of EFFector, we give an overview of all the work we’re doing at EFF. This week, we’re focusing on how lawmakers are trying to regulate encryption and what you can do about it.

The FBI made headlines when it backed away from its dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to force Apple to subvert its own product’s security. But today, there’s a new threat to your right to secure devices and private communications. This threat is aimed not just at one phone or one manufacturer, but at everyone who uses encryption.

If a few senators get their way, any court in the U.S. will be able to force nearly any company to decrypt any encrypted data that it handles.

The draft bill—proposed by Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein—reflects an ignorance of everyday computer security practices that safeguard your devices and information from criminals. Quite simply, the Burr-Feinstein bill would be a security disaster.

Burr-Feinstein might just be the tip of the iceberg. This year, the California legislature considered a bill that would have banned encrypted smartphones unless those phones’ manufacturers were able to comply with a court order to break the encryption. And just this week in a congressional hearing, law enforcement officials argued for pressuring Apple and Android to keep strong encryption software from being allowed on their devices at all.

Thanks to many of you speaking up, the California bill died in committee. But it’s essential that lawmakers keep hearing from people like you: people who understand why strong encryption makes everyone safer.

Millions of Americans suffer the loss, theft, or compromise of intimate communications, trade secrets, and identities each year. We desperately need more security, not less. Laws that discourage manufacturers from offering secure products and services move us in precisely the wrong direction.

Let’s make the message loud and clear to Congress: don’t compromise our security.

Let’s Strengthen Crypto, Not Attack It

There are two bills in Congress to strengthen encryption and stop reckless attempts by law enforcement to build backdoors. The ENCRYPT Act and the Secure Data Act would keep our communications and transactions safe, thus ensuring more security for everyone.

This is a crucial moment for the future of crypto. Actions Congress takes this year could have long-reaching implications for your right to privacy and security. Tell your members of Congress not to fall for attempts to scapegoat encryption, and instead, to champion digital security for everyone.

miniLinks

Reuters: White House Declines to Support Encryption Legislation

White House sources say that although President Obama hasn’t publicly opposed the Burr-Feinstein proposal, he won’t work to support it either.

Motherboard: Anti-Encryption Social Media Campaign Backfires Spectacularly

When the New York Police Department and Manhattan District Attorney tried to launch a pro-backdoor social media campaign, people came out in droves to defend encryption.

Wired: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People

One of the most popular apps in the world now has end-to-end encryption turned on by default.

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Editor: Elliot Harmon, Activist
editor@eff.org

EFFector is a publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
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