If you are not familiar with EARN IT a law proposed by Attorney General William Barr and sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), you better get familiar with it.
Publications around the world are sounding the alarm bells.
EFF – Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate.
Tutanota.com – EARN IT is a law proposed by Attorney General William Barr to stop American tech companies from using encryption. The bill pretends to deal with the very serious issue of child exploitation online, but in reality will put an end to encryption and security online for everyone. Instead of actually providing law enforcement with more money and more officers, it attacks free speech and security online.
NakedSecurity – While we’re all distracted by stockpiling latex gloves and toilet paper, there’s a bill tiptoeing through the US Congress that could inflict the backdoor virus that law enforcement agencies have been trying to inflict on encryption for years.
At least, that’s the interpretation of digital rights advocates who say that the proposed EARN IT Act could harm free speech and data security.
Sophos is in that camp. For years, Naked Security and Sophos have said #nobackdoors, agreeing with the Information Technology Industry Council that “Weakening security with the aim of advancing security simply does not make sense.”
Obviously no human being in their right mind wants to be lax on protecting children from sexual predators or exploitation. But as the EFF points out
It doesn’t help organizations that support victims. It doesn’t equip law enforcement agencies with resources to investigate claims of child exploitation or training in how to use online platforms to catch perpetrators. Rather, the bill’s authors have shrewdly used defending children as the pretense for an attack on our free speech and security online.
So pay attention because this could affect various app you use that provide E2EE as well as see some of your favorite sites shut down because they will not or cannot comply.
Tip of the cap to Rob Monster