Senators propose a bill aimed at ending warrant-proof encryption

Senators claim the bill would strengthen national security

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and US Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act on Tuesday.

The bill seeks to strengthen national security interests and "better protect communities across the country" by ending "warrant-proof" encrypted technology used by terrorists and threat actors.

Law enforcement agencies have sought to dismantle strong encryption methods, such as end-to-end messaging encryption, on-device encryption and other forms of personal data security, for some time to help streamline investigations.

Tech companies, however, have argued that weakening encryption and data privacy could leave users vulnerable to attack. 

If enacted,  the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act would force tech companies to assist law enforcement agencies in accessing encrypted data. 

“Tech companies’ increasing reliance on encryption has turned their platforms into a new, lawless playground of criminal activity,” Cotton stated. “This bill will ensure law enforcement can access encrypted material with a warrant based on probable cause and help put an end to the Wild West of crime on the Internet.”

“User privacy and public safety can and should work in tandem. What we have learned is that in the absence of a lawful warrant application process, terrorists, drug traffickers and child predators will exploit encrypted communications to run their operations,” added Blackburn.

The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act also allows the attorney general to hold competitions for anyone who can access encrypted data while protecting privacy and security. The creation of a grant program meant to increase digital evidence training for law enforcement is included in the bill too.  

Facebook responded to the proposed bill, stating weakening encryption within apps would make users more vulnerable.

"End-to-end encryption is a necessity in modern life -- it protects billions of messages sent every day on many apps and services, especially in times like these when we can't be together," Facebook explained in a statement. 

"Rolling back this vital protection will make us all less safe, not more. We are committed to continuing to work with law enforcement and fighting abuse while preserving the ability for all Americans to communicate privately and securely."

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Security best practices for PostgreSQL

Securing data with PostgreSQL

Download now

Transform your MSP business into a money-making machine

Benefits and challenges of a recurring revenue model

Download now

The care and feeding of cloud

How to support cloud infrastructure post-migration

Watch now

Recommended

How to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10
encryption

How to encrypt files and folders in Windows 10

9 Apr 2021
The definitive guide to IT security
Whitepaper

The definitive guide to IT security

9 Apr 2021
Evidence suggests REvil behind Harris Federation ransomware attack
ransomware

Evidence suggests REvil behind Harris Federation ransomware attack

9 Apr 2021
Fujitsu taps Trend Micro to secure private 5G networks in smart factories
5G

Fujitsu taps Trend Micro to secure private 5G networks in smart factories

8 Apr 2021

Most Popular

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages
data centres

Microsoft is submerging servers in boiling liquid to prevent Teams outages

7 Apr 2021
Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace
hacking

Data belonging to 500 million LinkedIn users found for sale on hacker marketplace

8 Apr 2021
How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

8 Apr 2021