back to article Senator Wyden recalls SOPA fight in bid to defeat encryption-weakening efforts

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has put out a call to arms to digital rights activists, asking them to join in a SOPA-style effort to defeat upcoming efforts to weaken encryption. In a wide-ranging speech that covered J Edgar Hoover, Miranda Rights, the Founding Fathers and the Amazon Echo, the Oregon Senator warned that despite the …

  1. Adam 52 Silver badge

    You see world, there are some sensible politicians in the US!

    His voting record looks consistent too, so this doesn't seem to be an Apple funded position.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      One occasionally slips through the cracks. Most Congress critters are too dim to understand why Apple's stand was critical. Wyden is one of a handful that might actually possess a few functioning brain cells.

      The US media is even worse. They never fully grasped the feral grab was also aimed at them.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Wyden does have a lot of tech backing by being based in Portland. He also seems to be one of the few CongressCritters who actually understand the tech at least in layman's terms. Most of those idiots want their emails printed out, an admin to which they can dictate the response, etc. IOW, he's got a big clue and listens to what the experts are saying as opposed to the bleaters.

      Also a large portion of those who vote for him resist government interfering with their lives, property, freedoms, etc.

    3. streaky

      It's not *that* sensible; I like the positive nature of the sentiment - but we don't need permission for strong crypto. No government can stop it, I have the source for OpenSSL on in my possession and they can blow me.

      The irrelevance of these US corps will answer the US governments question if they dare try so win-win-win.

      1. cbars

        They can't stop a good implementation from working (let's not argue about what constitutes a good implementation), but they can force companies to use poor implementations

        They can force you to divulge your private key (c.f. UK)

        They can force companies to do the same

        And if that's the case, come on, a firmware update at the end of the factory line wouldn't be hard to legislate

        Or at least, that is what I see happening right now. I don't give two shits if you, personally, can encrypt your email to your mates; the LEGALISED widespread eavesdropping on the general public is the danger, and that most definitely must be fought against.

        I'm genuinely surprised. Hello Wyden, you have my attention. Now, where can I get one of these for Parliment?

        1. streaky

          They can force you to divulge your private key

          No they can't. They can try but that isn't the same as actually forcing you. I've discussed this before but the blanket law re crypto keys in the UK pretty plainly isn't compatible with the charter. Also it's still a choice either way. If we all refuse to hand over keys the law is moot, terrorists won't do it so why should the rest of us; by definition that law is disproportionate. Hell this is exactly why the law isn't used because they don't want to see it tested because they know it will fail in both primary and secondary aim.

          Now, where can I get one of these for Parliment?

          Depending on your political flavour either Watson or Davis is probably about as close as you get.

  2. Oengus

    I had to check. Is this April 1? I thought I heard a call from the US Government for better security.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I thought I heard a call from the US Government for better security."

      Your hearing is faulty. It was from a US Senator, not from the US govt.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally somebody gets it right!

    Without security, no privacy

    Without privacy, no security.

    The only people who want to pit one against the other are the people who object to both.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Reassuring to see that someone in US government has a brain and is not yet bought out

    I am relieved to see that there is at least one voice of sanity at the political level of this debate.

    Much better than having no one to counter the shrillness of Hillaryzilla, or the abysmal stupidity of all the others.

    Will it be enough ? Time shall tell.

  5. Mike VandeVelde

    Please someone write an article comparing and contrasting all of this kerfuffle to CALEA which has been on the books for 20+ years. Private communication? Never heard of them, are they new? If you could hum one of their songs for me maybe I will recognize it but I kind of doubt it.

  6. Gigabob

    The next war will fire bits not bullets

    Wyden hit the mark that this is about security and more security in an age where digital tools advance at the pace of Moore's law, reducing the veneer of security that simple passcodes presume to provide.

    My concern in the coming debates is that a surveillance agency, either US or foreign can get into your smartphone/wallet and beyond seeing what you do, they can insert records for things you did not do.

    Then we have the recent successful Iranian attacks on the water utilities in New York. These probes show we need to shore up security of these and other utilities that are now open to attack. Thus we need more, not less security and the role of government should be to find vulnerabilities across our business and security institutions, alert them and hold them accountable when not addressed in a timely manner.

  7. Mike 16 Silver badge


    Lest anybody get (or persist in) the belief that Miranda is puppies and unicorns, and easy for a normal person to reason about, I submit

    (Part of an excellent series. One point made earlier in that section is that the whole point of "reading your rights" to you is _not_ "to warn you", but to allow anything you say _after_ that point to be used against you. Read the comic. Even if not in the U.S., maybe, as much U.S. law is based on Common Law, so tends to be similar to other jurisdictions)

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Miranda

      Correct... the only "rights" in that are "lawyer up" and "shut up". Not in so many words, of course.

  8. IPVanish VPN

    IPVanish VPN

    We were thrilled to see Senator Wyden standing up for encryption with such a concerted effort. We stand behind this mission 100%.

  9. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    As for those who buy the line that "if you've done nothing" and you "don't care if the government is listening in to your Amazon Echo," he recalled the era of J Edgar Hoover and his wide-ranging surveillance of groups he deemed unsuitable. "I wonder what political and social movements we might never have heard of if J Edgar Hoover had access to all the technology available today," he noted.

    Fucking BINGO. The idea that "if you've done nothing wrong you'll be left alone" is at best naieve. More honestly it is a purposeful ignorance of reality by those whose overwhelming self interest and sociocultural myopia ensures they actively prevent themselves from caring about the plight of those not exactly like them.

    It is simply not okay to believe "if you've done nothing wrong you'll be left alone". It is morally wrong, as it implies a carefully curated apathy and ignorance that harms society as a whole.

    We need everyone on the line fighting this fight; each of us standing up for eachother is one ten millionth as powerful as a single one of those who seek to tear down the presumption of innocence and remove our civil liberties. It takes all of us to stand up to those in power. There is no room for apathy or willful ignorance anymore.

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