back to article After huffing and puffing for years, US senators unveil law to blow the encryption house down with police backdoors

A trio of Republican senators on Tuesday proposed legislation that requires service providers and device makers in America to help the Feds bypass encryption when presented with a court-issued warrant. The law bill [PDF] is dubbed the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, which uncharacteristically cannot be condensed into a …

  1. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    LAEDA is sponsored by US Senators ...

    ... Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

    Oh, boy.

    If anyone expects any one of these three to understand anything about crypto, you'll be waiting for a very long time.

    Senator Tom Cotton recently asked the US Military for a no quarter order when deploying the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division to US cities to deal with the protesters.

    Tom Cotton is a veteran of the US Army. What Tom Cotton does not seem to know, or appreciate, is: a no quarter order is illegal under US Law, and under US DOD Rules of Engagement. In the US, it's been illegal since the Civil War. Currently, in times of war, it's a war crime. Outside of war, it's murder 1.

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: LAEDA is sponsored by US Senators ...

      "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself."

      Mark Twain

      I couldn't have put it better.

      These characters should join their Australian counterparts in trying to repeal of the laws of mathematics.

      1. The Central Scrutinizer

        Re: LAEDA is sponsored by US Senators ...

        Unfortunately there is no law against crass stupidity. When I rule the universe, however....

  2. RichardEM

    stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

    I hope that the people who are proposing this bill are doing it out ignorance rather then Avarice.

    I don't think ignorance is why they are doing this.

    Many people in the current administration believe in the Imperial Presidency. This means that for all intensant purposes the President has most if not all of the rights of a Medieval King. This is Totally against the way the our founders saw what were writing.

    If you read John Locke and the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, which many if not all of the people who wrote and voted for the Constiution you will easily see this. What really amazes me is that many of these same people claim that they are Originalists in term of the way that they say the Constitution should be interpreted.

    1. Brandon 2

      Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

      With all due respect, it's not stupidity. They know exactly what they are doing.

      1. RichardEM

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        I gave a choice and if you read my full comment you will realize that I show that it is not ignorance but Avarice.

        1. iron Silver badge

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          If you had used sentences so he could understand it maybe he would have agreed with you. As it is your original comment is unreadable.

          1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

            Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

            I didn't realise that there were too many people with a reading age lower than 12 here. I learn something every day.

            You must hate posts by AManfromMars1 ... and love those by Bob at his most bombastic!

            1. jason_derp Bronze badge

              Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

              "You must hate posts by AManfromMars1 ... "

              What the hell, man? AManfromMars1 is ESP (Earth as a Second Planet), and he still does better than most Congresspeople. Way to punch down, I hope you're proud of what you are.

              1. DryBones

                Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

                Hey, if they don't want punching down, then they need to step up.

              2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

                Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

                "Way to punch down, I hope you're proud of what you are."

                Yes, I'm quite proud of what I am, thank you. What is it you think I shouldn't be?

                1. jason_derp Bronze badge

                  Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

                  "Yes, I'm quite proud of what I am, thank you. What is it you think I shouldn't be?"

                  Immune to humor?

          2. David Nash

            Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

            It's not at all unreadable.

            Although there is an interesting spelling of "intents and purposes".

            1. J. Cook Silver badge
              Coat

              Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

              In tents and porpoises? Kinky!

              *shows self the door one step ahead of the bouncer*

            2. Bill Gray

              Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

              The variant I usually see is "intensive purposes", which has the advantage of getting past spell-check unscathed.

    2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

      Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

      It may be avarice in the sense that these senators get donations from law enforcement unions, but other than that, I have to say that ignorance is the drivert:

      1) Big and small business doesn't want encryption watered down, because how else can they protect their communications and financial transactions

      2) Most NGOs don't want encryption watered down, because they rely on it for communications.

      3) Most normal people either don't care too much about encryption either way, or they have had run-ins with ID theft and worry about it a great deal

      I suppose their might be some rich individual donors who are so worked up about terrorists or "saving the children" that they might fork over contributions on this issue, but really this is these senators responding to law enforcement and intel agencies putting pressure on Congress.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        I wonder how much "black budget" the TLAs have available for lobbying?

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          In a pinch? All of it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

      The problem with the role of US president is that the Framers sought to give the presidency equivalent powers to the then King of England. However, they grossly overestimated those powers. In effect, the UK is, and has been for centuries, a republic with a hereditary president, whereas the US since its inception has been a monarchy with an elected monarch.

      1. A random security guy Bronze badge

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        Can I steal your comments?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        Didn't the government give itself "Henry VIII powers" to amend UK laws that come from or are related to EU ones as it sees fit? So we also have a monarchy with an elected Monarch - King Boris!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          Hail Boris, or perhaps Hale-Bopp Boris.

          Shoes packed?

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          King Boris? You mean the poodle that is shared between Dominic Cummings and Trump

    4. ovation1357 Bronze badge

      Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

      Hands up everybody who had to look up the word 'avarice' - I'm pretty sure I've never heard the word before.

      Anyone know whether it's more commonly used in US English? It's definitely listed in the Cambridge and Oxford English dictionaries but I don't recall ever hearing the word in British English before...

      TL;DR

      Cool! I learnt a new word meaning 'extreme greed'

      1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        That's the problem with kids today - too busy berating us crotchety old farts for destroying "their" planet to learn interesting and useful words!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          You don't learn words like that at engineering school.

          Perhaps there is room for the humanities after all..

          1. Col_Panek

            Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

            Minoring in English got my grade average up in engineering school.

          2. Someone Else Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

            You don't learn words like that at engineering school.

            That's because engineering classes in the Pre-Facebook era didn't need to teach that word.

            1. Glen 1 Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

              Indeed, a bit like how people during Shakespeare's time didn't need middle English translated.

              If you need me, Ill be off keeping my unit tests on fleek.

        2. ovation1357 Bronze badge

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          Gosh, if you're implying me then I'm afraid I'm a long way past being a kid. My wife often tells me I'm a miserable old git too, but I'd still never heard of avarice, although another commentard's use of 'avaricious' at least sounds like a word I've heard before.

          I love discovering new words - one of the beauties of English is that our language is vast and contains a great many interesting words.

          1. Someone Else Silver badge

            Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

            ...many of which are derived from French and therefore cannot be correctly spelled by an anglophone. Ever.

      2. Return To Sender
        Happy

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        Never come across the expression 'rich beyond the dreams of avarice?'

        Even better, call them venally avaricious and I suspect you're close to the truth... Aren't obscure words fun?

      3. Katy_B

        Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

        You are unfamiliar with the seven deadly sins then? (At least, that is, in a literary way.)

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: stupidity out of ignorance or avarice

          You are unfamiliar with the seven deadly sins then?

          Kevin Spacey will be displeased....

  3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Please find the monolith

    Hopefully there are more hanging around Jupiter. The last dose wore off and we're devolving back into monkeys.

    1. sev.monster
      Gimp

      Re: Please find the monolith

      Praise be to the great Wish Granter. Hail the Monolit. Иди ко мне.

      ...Oh, wrong one.

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    "A trio of Republican senators"

    Collective noun: A triangle of stupid

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: "A trio of Republican senators"

      Perhaps a "Thicket of Congressmen"?

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: "A trio of Republican senators"

        an asynergy?

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: "A trio of Republican senators"

          ...with the emPHAsis on the first sylLABle

    2. Katy_B

      Re: "A trio of Republican senators"

      I'm going to nick that and claim it as my own!

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: "A trio of Republican senators"

        .. also known as a "Slump" or "Embarrassment".

  5. earl grey Silver badge
    FAIL

    it's not magical maths, just put in the backdoor

    and bend over. we'll just get a warrant (ha ha ha) and we'll read anything we want (well, except YOU'RE not allowed to read OUR stuff).

    waiting for the first time the 'backdoor' gets used on every congresscritter that votes for this.

  6. John Geek

    When strong crypto is outlawed, only outlaws will use strong crypto ?

    where have I heard this refrain before ??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE; When strong crypto is outlawed

      "When strong crypto is outlawed, only outlaws will use strong crypto ?"

      Actually, only outlaws, including the rich and politically powerful will have strong encryption.

      1. Jaybus

        Re: RE; When strong crypto is outlawed

        Actually, anyone could still have strong crypto, even in the unlikely event that it did become law. It's not like we can unlearn the maths, and existing open-source crypto is plenty strong enough for the near future. Just another bill that is doomed from the start because it is trying to legislate the impossible.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to Heil, nothing to Fear.

    Let the Heiling begin.

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So once the Government gets its way....

    Any financial transaction won't be safe. Any private message won't be safe. I think the first folks to enjoy this should be the ones who vote for removing encryption.

    The US has a government run by numpties starting with the guy at top. If there's any intelligence in any voter here in the States, I hope they vote the numpties out.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: So once the Government gets its way....

      Oh there is plenty of intelligence amongst voters - possibly just not in enough of them if the last election was anything to go by. We have the same sorts of problems on this side of the pond.

      1. nematoad Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: So once the Government gets its way....

        "... possibly just not in enough of them "

        Ah it was not the popular vote that elected Trump, it was a construct called "The Electoral College".

        The College works on a strange and convoluted system and in the 2016 Election Hilary Clinton actually got more of the popular vote than Trump and still lost.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So once the Government gets its way....

          "The College works on a strange and convoluted system [...]"

          IIRC the Founding Fathers created that system specifically to allow considered thought to override a populist vote for a patently unsuitable candidate.

          Over the years many states have removed their college delegates' independence of action - they must all vote for their state's majority winner. Some other states do have an approach whereby they provide a mix of delegates' sympathies according to the state's split of votes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            "IIRC the Founding Fathers created that system specifically to allow considered thought to override a populist vote for a patently unsuitable candidate."

            OR they just didn't want anything to get in the way of their default white supremacy, given the citizenship standards of the time...

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: So once the Government gets its way....

                "Remind me again - how many of the Puritans on the Mayflower were *not* white?"

                Answer me. How many British migrations to the Colonies actually took place, given Plymouth was hardly the first.

                "If the group to select from is 100% white, how can you have any non-white representation?"

                Most of these colonizations got to hobnob with the native population while they were at it, meaning there was already a nonwhite contingent to consider even before slaves were imported from Africa.

                "As I recall, there was quite a big disagreement in the US over whether non-whites should be allowed to own land, vote etc - and I am pretty sure many of those fighting FOR black emancipation where WHITE."

                SOME...but NOT ENOUGH. Kinda shows where the majority sentiment lied, eh? Put it this way. If George Washington really was against slavery, why did he wait until his death to emancipate them?

              2. Katy_B

                Re: So once the Government gets its way....

                Perhaps you are forgetting that the Puritans got off the Mayflower some time before the consttution was written? You might also bear in mind that the WASPS who wrote that constiution were very often slave owners themselves.

          2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            They can try, but the independence of the electors in giving their vote is constitutionally absolute. As is the right of congress to award those votes.

            It's actually a two-level failsafe.

            And, for those with overly-convenient memories, while, pre-election, it has been leftists & Democrats suggesting that the Republican call on his electors to switch in favor of a popular vote, it was the Democratic electors that chose to defect in 2016.

            Hilary Clinton isn't just a boogeyman of the right.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So once the Government gets its way....

              "[...] but the independence of the electors in giving their vote is constitutionally absolute."

              Which hasn't stopped 28 states passing laws against "faithless electors". It may prove to be an empty threat should the Supreme Court ever rule on it - but it shows the corruption of the original idea of electors' independence.

              This site seems to be factual:

              "Several states have passed laws against faithless electors and require electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state, for the candidate of the party that nominated them to serve as electors, or in accordance with any pledge they may have been required to make at the time of their nomination. In states with these types of laws, faithless electors can be fined or replaced, or their votes can be nullified."

              1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

                Re: So once the Government gets its way....

                Again, they can try, but these are federal agents executing their powers as they deem best. Can you fine an ICE agent for arresting folks in a "sanctuary city"? Or FBI agents for raiding a (state) legal pothouse?

                A competent lawyer would show up in the state court, raise the question of jurisdiction, and walk out.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: So once the Government gets its way....

          "The College works on a strange and convoluted system and in the 2016 Election Hilary Clinton actually got more of the popular vote than Trump and still lost."

          That can happen in the UK too. Not sure if it's ever happened, but "first past the post" means you won more seats, not necessaries more votes. Enough "just good enough" results wins the race even if you lose massively in all the other seats. This can also lead to a majority government with as little as 25% of the vote.

          1. james_smith Silver badge

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            In the 1983 and 1987 UK parliamentary elections the Liberals (or Liberal SDP Allicance as it was) got 25% and 22% of the vote respectively. However, they only got 6% of the parliamentary seats.

          2. katrinab Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            Less than 25% of the vote in a multi-party system, as you don't need 50%+1 vote in the winning seat, and in a lot of seats, the winning candidate does get less than 50% of the vote,

            1. Stork Silver badge

              Re: So once the Government gets its way....

              Please correct me, but I seem to remember the Thatcher-era tories never got much more than 40% of the vote.

        3. Jaybus

          Re: So once the Government gets its way....

          The electoral college is not so strange. Each state has the same number of electors as they do members of Congress, 2 for their members of the Senate and one for each member of the House, which is based on population. Each state decides for itself how those electors are divided, although in all but two states it is a winner-takes-all. The purpose is to give all states a say in the election. In the beginning, it was to prevent Philadelphia, and so Pennsylvania, from choosing every president. Now it gives the so-called fly-over states a say in the election that they would not otherwise have. Bottom line, Clinton won the most individual votes, whereas Trump won the most voting districts. More individuals voted for Clinton. More communities voted for Trump. The president chosen notwithstanding, it is not such a bad system.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            But some would say that it made sense to give the most populous places like Philly then and say New York now. Why are individuals not considered so highly in this kind of system? Are they no less important than the areas in which they live?

            Frankly, perhaps what's needed is some kind of Connecticut Compromise in which votes are counted more than once: say by person, by district, and by state, best two out of three. That way there is much less room to complain as three different political units are considered at once. Also reduces the power of swing states (which will exist in any single system, simply due to uneven population distribution).

          2. Bill Gray

            Re: So once the Government gets its way....

            First, I'd be hard pressed to argue that states have rights and people don't. (Some can; the writers of the US Constitution were representing states, not the US as a whole.)

            Second, while I agree that the original intent was a compromise of the sort you describe (a way to reassure small states that they wouldn't get crushed by big states), the actual result is that the presidency is decided by those in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Much effort by both sides goes into those states. Small states where the outcome is unlikely to be changeable are ignored; your opinion, as a voter in an overwhelmingly blue or red state, doesn't matter.

            1. Jaybus

              Re: So once the Government gets its way....

              While the red and blue do seem to be static in recent elections, they are not always a shoe in for one party or another. Stalwart red states Alabama and Tennessee voted for Democrats Johnson, Carter, and Clinton in my lifetime. New York voted for Reagan. California has only been blue since the 1992 Clinton election. These "exceptions" can be found for most all states. It is not nearly as cut and dried as you make it out to be.

  9. G2
    Facepalm

    TSA locks

    they want TSA "locks" all over again ... so that everyone and their grandma's poodle can unlock them.

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: TSA locks

      And then someone will have to release a photo of some guy with the master key written on a Post-It beside his terminal...

      https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2015/09/tsa_master_keys.html

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So if I use a Samsung phone using Android to put some encrypted data in drop box using my own encryption who are these clowns going to go after? The device, OS and cloud provider don't have the keys. Do they think people are really that stupid? Scrub that some people are. It's never been about catching terrorists or criminals it's always been about getting to your data so you can be manipulated.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      In theory they could make non-USGov approved encryption software illegal and arrest you for using it. If you're not in the US then they could pressurize other countries to play ball as they are doing with Huawei, but I bet that they wouldn't need much pressure cos most countries, including the UK, would welcome back doors and would bend over backwards to help them in return for the keys.

      Remember, they did this in the nineties by defining 128 bit (I think) encryption as a weapon of war and threatening people and companies under the ITAR regulations, which were extraditeable. I know that the company I worked for was terrified of ITAR in those days.

      Admittedly, they'd have to catch you, but they could force DropBox or Samsung to check for non-approved encryption and dob you in.

      1. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Extraditable?

        Extraditable ITAR breaches presumably applied only to US citizens abroad. If so, the USA now is extending extradition reach regarding 'security' to include citizens of other nations with no particular connection (business or personal) to the USA: Julian Assange is glaring example. It doesn't end there because the same principle is applied to threats concerning US so-called 'intellectual property' (IP) hegemony too; a fact Kim Dotcom and his business associates can confirm. Then there is the senior executive of Huawei trapped in Canada awaiting transfer across the border.

        Outposts of the USA, particularly 'Five Eyes' nations, comply willingly. Presumably there's something in it personally beneficial to senior politicians in the USA's four partner colonies.

        Trade agreements coupled to demands for trading partners to conform to USA lowest common denominator cultural, food, and justice, standards are the closest the USA comes to diplomacy these days: US trade negotiation representatives wear velvet gloves covering iron fists: clout resting with US armed forces; perhaps in the UK Boris Johnson is fearful of US Marines coming up the Thames and grabbing him along with Assange, and other 'undesirables', should not full compliance with US demands be met concerning trade regulations (e.g. chlorinated chicken), draconian measures (not actually permitted in the USA itself under its Constitution) protecting IP, and other matters (Trident and NATO obligations) furthering the American Nightmare.

        The only hope for Assange, Dotcom, et al rests with US societal implosion happening sooner rather than later.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Extraditable?

          "[...] perhaps in the UK Boris Johnson [..]"

          Who was born in the USA.

          1. james_smith Silver badge

            Re: Extraditable?

            And therefore has a US passport. as does a Turkish friend who happened to be born in the US while his parents were working there for NATO.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Extraditable?

              "And therefore has a US passport. "

              Boris Johnson renounced his US passport about three years ago when faced with a large tax bill from the IRS for the sale of a UK house.

              IIRC Many non-US people have to spend a fair amount of money each year declaring they have no tax to pay the IRS on monies earned outside the USA. Once you have qualified to pay the IRS tax in the US - then they will expect a share in future years even if you live outside the USA.

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Extraditable?

                "Once you have qualified to pay the IRS tax in the US - then they will expect a share in future years even if you live outside the USA."

                Tina Turner had to renounce her US citizenship. She was retired in Switzerland and didn't have any burning need to be a US citizen for the remainder of her life. I think it cost her about $400. The accountant charged way more than that to file a no-income return every year. The bill is now well over $2000 and you are required to meet with State Department flacks at least twice for interviews before it's allowed.

                The US Internal Revenue Service likes to get their claws into any "US Person". You don't have to be a citizen. If you held a resident's card you could still be liable for paying tax in the US.

        2. Katy_B

          Re: Extraditable?

          They don't have to send Marines. Just stop supplying us with Trident missiles and refuse to sell us aeroplanes to put on our aircraft carriers. Mr. Johnson and his top team of ar*e lickers wouldn't like that.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "[...] including the UK, [...]"

        IIRC in the UK failing to provide the decryption key merits a two-year jail term as an offence in itself. On release this can be exacted again - and again.

        In theory this only applies to certain alleged crimes. Police forces can find an excuse to allege a suitably serious offence - even when any actual evidence is non-existent but they just "know" the person "has to be guilty".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "IIRC in the UK failing to provide the decryption key merits a two-year jail term as an offence in itself. "

          Are you sure? More like 9 months conditional discharge if you're the leader of a rightwing extremist group.

      3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        "In theory they could make non-USGov approved encryption software illegal"

        So they have an apparently random bit stream. What is it and (assuming its a cryptogram) how was it encrypted? Is it on the approved list or not? And who has the keys? A smart operator could be exchanging poetry with an associate overseas. By the time the government has found the service provider/key escrow agent (necessary components of a 'legal' back doored system) they have made enough noise to alert the user that this channel has been compromised. And all they got was some prose about a man from Nantucket.

        If enough people send messages back and forth with legal but non-TLA friendly interfaces, law enforcement will expend enough resources and make enough noise to render their intelligence gathering efforts useless. Microsoft (and its ilk) have built law enforcement APIs into their systems that, following the (electronic) delivery of a warrant, will provide instantaneous access to the requested message decryptions. Not so much for that mom and pop ISP that I use. Where Old Joe will have to rummage through a box of backup tapes in his shed to recover what has been requested.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "If enough people send messages back and forth with legal but non-TLA friendly interfaces, law enforcement will expend enough resources and make enough noise to render their intelligence gathering efforts useless."

          Or they'll just take the shortcut of parallel construction and start throwing every suspect in the clink under various legal covers.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      " ... put some encrypted data in drop box using my own encryption ... "

      xkcd.com/538/

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        5$ wrench does not work

        the Encryption key is covered under the 5th Amendment

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 5$ wrench does not work

          Even if they invoke war powers or martial law? OR simply ignore the whole ball of wax?

        2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

          Re: 5$ wrench does not work

          There's always https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber-hose_cryptanalysis

        3. Chozo

          Re: Taking the 5th

          But surely pleading the 5th will not work if law enforcement/ five eyes engage in a little Quid Pro Quo and it's the British bringing the charges.

  11. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Mushroom

    OpenPGP

    This software has been out for several years and provides strong encryption and the source code is available - how do these idiots propose to stop people using it. 7-ZIP also provides good encryption for RAR files.

    These Republican idiots will not be happy until everyone has a surgically implanted recording device that captures their every thought.

    Icon for what should happen to these idiots. ============================>

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: OpenPGP

      See my comment above. In the nineties they classified it as a weapon of war and could extradite you under the ITAR regulations. In return for the keys to the back doors most governments would play along today.

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: OpenPGP

        And yet we still used OpenPGP. I myself downloaded and built the source.

      2. pmb00cs

        Re: OpenPGP

        That's why the PGP source was published as a book.

        Software was covered under ITAR, but the printed word was protected speech under the first amendment.

        I'm not confident such loopholes still exist, but most of the best cryptography is developed internationally these days, and a significant proportion of it is developed entirely outside the USA, so ITAR wouldn't apply.

      3. james_smith Silver badge

        Re: OpenPGP

        I've just been reminded of the T-shirt I had with Perl code for a "non exportable" encryption algorithm printed on it. I even got US passport control (both entering and leaving the country) while wearing it.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: OpenPGP

      Honestly, they don't really care about OpenPGP, because relatively few people use it compared to the low-hanging fruit of E2E comms like WhatsApp/Signal etc.

      The whole intent is to be able to go back to dragnetting comms - just as they were before they got caught by whistleblowers, triggering a large uptake in E2E comms.

      If their investigation leads to your PGP encrypted files, they've the resources (and mechanisms) to be able to focus on you - including simply locking you up for refusing to hand over the decryption keys.

      Basically, they shat in the pool and hoped you wouldn't notice. Now that you have noticed and everyone's got out, they're trying to mandate that you have to swim in it. As long as they can get the majority in, they don't care about the relative few who scale the fence and escape (for now).

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: OpenPGP

        the problem is the ones they are using as an excuse to enforce the law are the ones who will scale the fence, and escape.

        still the whole thing is like the Uk DRIPA, RIPA and DEA, an assault on one of the UN's core treaties: Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

        Article 12 fits this, but others apply

    3. Libertarian Voice

      Re: OpenPGP

      Never mind pgp, what about OPENSSL? Just about the only way you could possibly allow access to openssl encrypted communications is with a master certificate so anyone who contributes to the openssl project or even went through the code (yes I know ossl code is a nightmare; I work with it) could find and circumvent the generation of any key pair that could be circumvented by means of a back door (and that is nowhere near as difficult as it sounds).

      In essence they can legislate as much as they like, but there is no way that anyone is going to use encryption with a built in back door and no way that the only encryption will be closed source. It is completely nuts or it is more bullshit virtue signalling.

  12. NoKangaroosInAustria
    Facepalm

    Yay! Its groundhog day!

    *sigh* how many times do IT folks have to tell lawmakers and law enforcement that a selective backdoor which swings open only for lawful authorities does not and can not exist and that Backdoors do more harm than good?

    Does anyone else feel like we're stuck in a stupid time loop where stupid ideas get recycled ever couple of years or is the inability to learn from previous mistakes just basic human nature?

    1. PerlyKing Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

      I think part of the problem here is that IT folks (and mathematicians, scientists and other experts) are used to dealing with reality, which cannot be changed or argued with. Politicians are used to dealing with perception, and with human beings who can generally be persuaded, bribed or bullied into doing what they (the politicians) want.

      A disagreement between rational individuals about the colour of something can generally be resolved by looking at the thing, problem solved.

      If a politician has decided that the sky being pink would benefit them, they're likely to try to bluster and bully everyone into saying that the sky is pink. It's worked in the past, and it's what they know how to do. And if it blows up in everyone's faces a year or two down the line, they've probably already made their pile and moved on to mess up something else. They just don't seem to grasp that some things affect everyone, even them!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

        "A disagreement between rational individuals about the colour of something can generally be resolved by looking at the thing, problem solved."

        So was The Dress black'n'blue or white'n'gold?

        The red one on a grey background ----------------->

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

        "A disagreement between rational individuals about the colour of something can generally be resolved by looking at the thing, problem solved."

        Not a good example to choose. Colour perception is a function of the brain - which double-guesses what it expects given various conditions of lighting and emotion.

        Some societies cannot differentiate between some "obvious" colours - yet differentiating very subtle nuances that others can only see as one overall colour.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

      Stuck in a stupid time loop until a properly peer reviewed paper is published that proves or disproves the concept of a safe back door.

      Actually that will not stop the idiocy. A bank's assessment of safe is somewhat different to a law and order (think of the children) politician facing re-election.

      1. Libertarian Voice

        Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

        Whether it is "safe" or not is irrelevant; even whether it is deemed "safe" is irrelevant because it is just not possible.

        Look at it this way: You can download the source code for openssl and its dependencies and change the algorithms and remove any malicious code that may generate a key pair that would grant anyone with a master key access. You could even do something as simple as add another layer of security.

        Another way to circumvent it without developing any further software is to encrypt it with 2 keys. If CA's are mandated to generate certificates that would require a master key then you get one of the CA for transportation purposes and encrypt the data with a self signed key.

        At the end of the day, it is just pure unadulterated bullshit.

    3. HellDeskJockey
      Facepalm

      Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

      I might add in allowing a "master key or keys" to encryption is going to be setting up a great target for every crook and intelligence agency out there.

    4. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

      The problem is we all know it’s possible to build a backdoor, it’s also possible to change that backdoor on an ongoing basis provided everyone updates their stuff frequently.

      So the reality is a backdoor could be made, it could be made secure ish with the proviso it’s changed frequently, say quarterly, and investigations and reports into if it’s been compromised can be published.

      So long as everyone from private citizens to the nsa has to use that encryption you can be sure it will be compromised, maybe not during the backdoor 3 month lifetime but the moment old encrypted data appears online in plain text this stupid idea will get dropped faster than a depleted uranium shell fired from a warthog.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yay! Its groundhog day!

      "[...] we're stuck in a stupid time loop where stupid ideas get recycled ever couple of years [...]"

      Every generation is born as a blank slate. Their immediate family and the wider community then imprints them with ways of thinking that become the core of their identity. In general they will not deviate too far from those teachings - especially if to do so puts them in danger of losing their identity by severing those social links.

      An older cousin is married to a vicar. We had not spoken since I was a child in the 1950s. Then a recent family death required me to contact her. She was horrified to find that I am a declared atheist since the age of 14. She said she couldn't countenance any of her many (now middle-aged) children being atheists.

      In olden times people could be convinced that their religion gave them immunity to an enemy's bullets. Today some people seem to believe that their religion protects them from Covid-19.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Confidence, born of ignorance

    Like Sovereign said in Mass Effect 1.

    Or, magical thinking at its best.

    "We shouldn't spend one second more debating these fictions."

    Best part of the article !

  14. Alister Silver badge

    They might as well have done the following:

    A trio of Republican senators on Tuesday proposed legislation that requires service providers and device makers in America to help the Feds bypass gravity when presented with a court-issued warrant.

  15. not.known@this.address Silver badge

    Please ask Uncle Bill to bring some of his wonderful scince fiction stories...

    I love it when lawmakers try to re-write the laws of physics and maths - it's hilarious.

    I love it when career politicians start trying to pretend they understand anything in the real world - until they decide to impose their stupidity on the rest of us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please ask Uncle Bill to bring some of his wonderful scince fiction stories...

      "I love it when career politicians start trying to pretend they understand anything in the real world - until they decide to impose their stupidity on the rest of us."

      The same would apply to those who believe their $deity$ authorises them to impose their dogma on the rest of civil society. Too often they are also active politicians or their advisers or funders.

    2. Roo
      Windows

      Re: Please ask Uncle Bill to bring some of his wonderful scince fiction stories...

      Juding by the track record of these particular Senators, the GOP and the Administration, I think it more likely that their intent is to criminalize privacy and enforce the legislation in an arbitrary and malicious way rather than bend the laws of maths and physics.

  16. Dinanziame Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    What about foreign entities?

    What prevents a company in Germany to offer a service with end-to-end encryption? Will US citizens be forbidden from using such a system?

    1. Long John Silver
      Pirate

      Re: What about foreign entities?

      Will German citizens be forbidden by the USA from using it too?

      1. Katy_B

        Re: What about foreign entities?

        Really, Mts. Merkel? Then we will be taking our troops back home tomorrow.

  17. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
    Coat

    I don't fire up my quantum computer for less than 10 grand

    Apart from the sheer lunacy of the proposal, as I am "another person" I can tell them right now that I'm not cracking anyone's encrypted communications for $300 a pop!

    Mine's the one with some spare qubits in the pockets...

  18. BazNav

    I don't know enough maths

    but I've spent enough time around lawyers to understand that you have to comply with what is written not what someone may or may not have intended.

    If the (bad) law ends up saying that you have to assist the authorities in gaining access then if you set up a server dedicated to cracking your chosen encryption scheme you can honestly say that you are assisting, and if the authorities come back in 200 years time there's a fair chance you will have succeeded in breaking the encryption.

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: I don't know enough maths

      The answer to the question you are about to ask me is "42". The answer to the next question you are about to ask me will take approximately 4.5 billion years to compute.

  19. Liarbastardscumfilthtrashagentsofsatan

    LAEDA Omissions!

    My concern is not that Laeda goes too far, rather not far enough. Exemption of companies that manufacture devices, software, services, under 1 million a year, is an open door for criminal expansion within small cadres, who will make fortunes off criminal activities the product/product services will generate. The devices/services are not currently a typical purchase for the average American, instead the criminally minded.

    Failure of the bill will be a Democrat Neo-liberal agenda item, as it would curtail their involvement in domestic terrorism pertaining to violent demonstrations, drug procurement for personal use, personal political vendettas, retaliations, prostitution, enhanced drug trafficking to maintain an affordable street price for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, opioids, etc., for Democrat voters, clandestine communications vital to a Democrat Party continued effort at a political coup d'etat to remove the President from office, malicious software used for hate crimes, money laundering, foreign involvement in national political affairs, elections, illegal immigration, etc.! The Democrats of course will not maintain exclusive right to these criminal behaviors, just the magnet that attracts the iron! There is already enough current purveyance of the above listed illegal activities to guarantee the destruction of the U.S. government. It is now just a matter of timing! Amen!

    1. A random security guy Bronze badge

      Re: LAEDA Omissions!

      Thanks for explaining your position. It would be helpful if you could show how the crypto would actually work. That is a multi-billion dollar solution. We would all be interested in knowing how you are going to do this. Brilliant minds have failed.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: LAEDA Omissions!

        Nah. The brilliant minds needed a minute to figure out why their subconscious was laughing so hard at the entire idea--it would not have taken so long, but with ALL THAT LAUGHING, it's really hard to concentrate enough for rational thought.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: LAEDA Omissions!

      @Liarbastardscumfilthtrashagentsofsatan

      You are Tom Cotton and I claim my $5

      I assume your handle reflects your opinion of those who disagree with you.

    3. Katy_B

      Re: LAEDA Omissions!

      Written like a true English as my second language contributor. But I am interested to see that Russia is taking notice of the comments sections in El Reg.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: LAEDA Omissions!

        1 post, registered yesterday... I believe you could be right. Have a leftist beer

  20. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    There's a very simple test as to how much these people would want it if they understood what it meant.

    Would they be prepared to have all their online account IDs and passwords published for all to see, all their bank statements for, say the last 10 years, all their emails, all their other messaging device data, all their medical records? Ditto for family members.

    It should be a required test for legislators proposing this sort of legislation to publish this up-front.

    Put up or shut up.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And if they DO put up...and litter the stash with "disgusting" stuff like granny porn (or worse, gramps porn)?

      1. whitepines Silver badge

        I think the general idea then is:

        1.) They're now formally un-electable

        2.) They can now be charged with various crimes as the (disgusted) populous sees fit (unfortunately mob "justice" is a thing in the United States)

        So out of power and probably locked up (hoisted on one's own petard). Sounds good to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          1) They're still electable and probably WILL be elected because their constituency actually LIKES what they're doing.

          2) None of the material they spread is actually illegal (remember, everyone is of legal age), and again, the populace LIKES the content. Consider someone representing southern Florida or someone else with a large elderly population.

          IOW, instead of locked up, they're locked IN.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "It should be a required test for legislators proposing this sort of legislation to publish this up-front."

      Did the current President ever disclose his accounts?

    3. Katy_B

      If it ever comes to pass I think it won't be long before some helpful soul publishes Senators Graham and Connor's browsing history.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        And that of their staff. Wouldn't it be very interesting to have a look at the bank accounts of politician's staff? Their brokerage accounts? Notes passed to certain third parties?

        The only upside to this sort of legislation would be that somebody would find it really fun targeting government figures. They'd only have sympathy after rooting around in my bank records.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lunacy

    Looking at this from across the pond with my usual cynical attitude, seems to me that your tech-aware senator, Mr. Ron Wyden should be involved in knocking this hideous idea back in the trash can (note the English-to-USA translation!), where it belongs.

  22. John Robson Silver badge

    Help...

    I can help, I'll put one RasPi to work to crack the encryption, after all there are only a finite number of keys.

  23. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Coat

    Crazy...

    Definitely living LAEDA loco....

    [ sorry ]

  24. tekHedd

    Acronyms

    "Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act" doesn't make a good acronym, but it makes a great oxymoron.

    Because if a third party has access to it, it's not encrypted.

  25. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    While they're at it....

    Can we finally make PI equal to exactly 3? They've been faffing about this one for years, but now the time is right...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: While they're at it....

      Only in Indiana.

  26. SloppyJesse

    International hacking?

    ... 'to help authorities "access information stored on an electronic device or to access remotely stored electronic information." '

    Remotely stored? You're the law enforcement, go to the remote location and get _them_ to help you. Unless you're definition of 'remote' means "stored outside our geographical borders". In which case your law requires companies to undertake international espionage on your behalf. I think other countries might take exception to that.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: International hacking?

      "In which case your law requires companies to undertake international espionage on your behalf. I think other countries might take exception to that.

      Hmmm....Ireland...Microsoft...emails....

  27. tip pc Silver badge

    So they didn’t like the Chinese doing exactly the same......

    So they didn’t like the Chinese doing exactly the same but are happy to legislate for this to happen in the US.

    I do hope countries will rightly prohibit the use of US technology once this goes through.

    Maybe we might see a resurgence of computing design and build in the uk. Just a shame ARM was sold off to the Far East.

    A new bbc micro anyone.

  28. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Ask the NSA first

    FBI wants to solve crimes. NSA is responsibile for national security. In that role, the NSA doesn't give a hoot about your privacy, but they are very, very interested in keeping the data of politicians, military, police, industry etc. safe, everything that would be in the interest of national security.

    The NSA has repeatedly said that giving the police such access will be damaging to national security.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Ask the NSA first

      The NSA would very much like to be able to have better intel on US politicians. They've already been caught spying on oversight committees. Being in government is all about budgets and headcount as many salaries are capped by law. If you are privy to all of the peccadillos of the elected, you have the leverage to move a continent. National Security? pppffttt. That's just the cover story. The Russians know more about what goes on in Washington than the average US citizen is allowed to know.

  29. gnasher729 Silver badge

    Technical solution

    I suggest a very simple technical solution: Apple, Samsung etc each create a website where each owner of a phone, tablet etc. can register the serial number of their device and the passcode. Then all the FBI has to do is give Apple or Samsung the serial number, and they’ll get the passcode.

    If there is a typo in my passcode or two or ten, that’s obviously not the manufacturer’s fault.

  30. rafff

    Cryptographic signing?

    "With that said, to the degree that Apple would still be forced to create code it does not want to create, and cryptographically sign – i.e., vouch for – code it does not truly stand by,"

    If all the encryption methods are deliberately broken of what value is the signing of code?

    1. Quinch

      Re: Cryptographic signing?

      To properly pin any requisite blame on the developer, of course.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cryptographic signing?

      "If all the encryption methods are deliberately broken of what value is the signing of code?"

      It can be used to lull people into a false sense of security by any attacker able to forge a signature.

  31. steviebuk Silver badge

    All hope is lost

    When you have US Attorney General William Barr, who appears to be, I say appears to be, ones of the most bent, corrupt cunts in the admin.

  32. The Central Scrutinizer

    If this ever happens....

    They will have to prevent Americans (somehow) from being able to download anything other than government approved software. It's not like the Internet is a global network or anything.... oh, wait.

    Good luck with that.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If this ever happens....

      The Internet still depends on means of communication. All the US has to do is control all the endpoints. Granted, there are more than usual, but they're still finite and likely well-known.

      Balkanization of the Internet has been in consideration for some time.

  33. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

    The other way to comply is for the manufacturer or service provider to record all such communications on the device and trasmit it to their servers for long term storage. Expensive, to say the least and a heck of a target.

  34. Spanners Silver badge
    Alert

    Hopefully

    The rest of the world will let the USA "lead the way" and watch all the predicted problems arise and our owners will talk to theirs and decide against it.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once again with feeling.......

    This may have been mentioned before....but it bears repeating:

    1. Private ciphers are widely regarded as "weak". But it still takes time to break them. So users of private ciphers have a TIME ADVANTAGE over potential snoopers...an advantage which puts the snooper on the back foot from the get go.

    2. So...we get (or already have!) backdoors in some "remote computing service" or another. So what? Using the backdoor will simply reveal something enciphered in some unknown way.

    3. And thanks to El Reg, readers can experience a sample right here!

    *

    007Q12l20P2Y08Ie0IPj08vh0zix1GLu0Tib1731

    0SUX0W8Q1h$h1iud0K7M0WtU1Kgt0QYo1aKO1D8x

    1WjJ1DAA1Q3G1gAs0EW11IPj0PGl1Wly1D8Q0zXQ

    0YMq1DzV1TJI0Lrj1HzR0M=t05eF0TZw0lQf0jef

    1GpB0O0X0Jgr0Ccn07JA0FWC1ayI1A=C1S561ML3

    0Fif0z9815W103UJ1Frw17=u13Jl14jd0X520ec1

    0tJl0BVk0V5M1DuE05qa162t1Hso0A5n1Qhb1Kxj

    0X7Q0FfU1dCX1JFF0FXh0oSZ03vU0tjC0Ud51Yhx

    0T2y1a2e0CMs0gz60zSJ12Xn1iJr0w1s0FlJ0=b4

    1eo50b8q1Plo07Qz1iQV0CWj0Q9s1bQT1VHB079Z

    0jjh1Cmz0$Bn0CW90dWW0kCA1jl00naW1MhT0pmh

    0grC1LlM1JCf0fIS1Og41GIB1aOU0VVr1c1e1EYB

    1H7v1Zk10rAz0slX0IA51l=P1hX$1Jsp0CK10Iav

    1P5j0GZm10lO0ihH0LoB0rgq0DBQ0CtT1YtE1TSd

    1WQR0=K10nrc1aAg0P8M1bms0woi0VXQ1KYO1WqO

    17zX024O1ABn0GN01FOW1dGA1ZG515xW0Hqi0TcJ

    1Ujs0tU60Mcz17KQ1gVL17qY1F0b049P1bQo0OXo

    0Yjq1Hd41dHv1Lhp171F0CW81G7k0MV91fli0$3E

    1JXU026b0Zq906pt1iN$0kFu0O9F1Ujh077U1LDi

    16XL0xut08it0VPG0rRU1Jmx10Oy0VQh1CEm0AC9

    0KG21mAG0tyu1NxL18ZV15IG03u00=f31A8T1J2c

    1MgT1R7O19r91HjJ1La409h31C2Q0k2y0XsD0wU1

    0z7r0y4w0fZe0prH0hZD1lD90vE80OaO1HLl0kxk

    1BcH0wTa19$t00rA0gdj0iTy1jul0ROs16pd0y0S

    0lDx1eZo0vjR1EiS0=6y1iYN1I6t10oj0yJb1DvM

    068F1M9T1YUL0hUJ1BLP1TGZ135t0A0L0E=B0Y37

    1R=U0oo80K8R0mbW0IoE0l6=1dGB0$DL13rL0uTJ

    0zs90bXS0rwM1Z3b1S4x06hh1dC50Nav0EQA0ySQ

    00fx

    *

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Once again with feeling.......

      They're working to make (2) and (3) illegal in itself, so it wouldn't matter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Once again with feeling.......

        "...They're working to make (2) and (3) illegal..."

        *

        OK. I'm sure the bad guys (targets of this and other laws)...I'm sure they will be PROMPT to obey the law!!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Once again with feeling.......

          If we take away the ciphers, only the bad guys will have ciphers.

          Remember, a good guy with a cypher can take down a bad guy with a cypher.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Once again with feeling.......

      "1. Private ciphers are widely regarded as "weak". But it still takes time to break them. So users of private ciphers have a TIME ADVANTAGE over potential snoopers...an advantage which puts the snooper on the back foot from the get go."

      Private encryption systems are regarded as weak because they overwhelmingly are weak. There are all kinds of potential flaws in the algorithms, the math, the protocols, and the implementations. Any one of these can be an unintended back door.

      Vanishingly few individuals are equipped to evaluate these factors, even ignoring the tendency to overlook one's own mistakes.

      Furthtermore, you underestimate the attackers. Many of the flaws will be commonly recurring ones that many would be cryptographers would create. Just as there are lists of common passwords that can be automatically tried, there surely exist lists of common cryptographic errors that can be automatically probed.

      Many attacks against cryptosystems do not need to start with a knowledge of the algorithm or implementation - they directly attack the messages themselves. It doesn't really matter how a cryptographic program works, it only matters what it does - what the transformation from cleartext to ciphertext is, and how it can be reversed. Tiny variations from randomness, or minute variations in ciphertext as a result of either method or response to the cleartext content will provide a foothold for an attack against the encryption.

      The only real defense is hundreds of mathematicians and cryptographic specialists all over the world looking at every aspect of algorithms and implementations and identifying any weaknesses, so they can be repaired.

  36. Someone Else Silver badge

    The law bill [PDF] is dubbed the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, which uncharacteristically cannot be condensed into a pandering acronym.

    Well, it they were to name it the Lawful Encrypted Access to Data (which to this trio of fools would make every bit as much sense as the original), it could be acronym-ized as the LEAD Act, which accurately describes what's between their ears.

    'Course, that implies you pronounce it properly. Given that this is Congress, they would tend to mispronounce it as "leed". But that would be OK, as now both the name and the acronym describe the opposite of what the legislation will actually do. Appropriate for Congress, then.

  37. Someone Else Silver badge

    Round up the usual suspects...

    "Tech companies’ increasing reliance on encryption has turned their platforms into a new, lawless playground of criminal activity," said Cotton in a statement.

    "Criminals from child predators to terrorists are taking full advantage.

    Can't think of a witty rejoinder; this just stands on its own.

  38. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    such priorities

    So our country is (in some cases literally) burning, and our Congresscritters are too busy trying to stick their noses where they don't belong, rather than doing their actual JOBS.

    As the saying goes: "if 'pro' is the opposite of 'con', then what's the opposite of 'progress'?"

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: such priorities

      Actually, it's REgress, as "re" in this case repesents REVERSAL. "Pro" and "con" only work in the "for" and "against" context. "-gress" uses a "forward" and "backward" context.

    2. Katy_B

      Re: such priorities

      As the saying goes: "if 'pro' is the opposite of 'con', then what's the opposite of 'progress'?"

      Republicaness.

  39. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    "It is blind to the fact that as millions of us march in the streets [...] we've never been more dependent on secure communications and devices."

    The bill is not blind to that particular fact at all. The government's primary security goal is not to protect the people; it is to protect itself from the people.

  40. Katy_B

    A fitting name

    I think the name should be shortened to Lawful Access to Data Act, then we could acronymize it to LADA. Much more appropriate.

  41. MachDiamond Silver badge

    The average Jo(seph)

    The "Bad Guys" ® will simply use encryption software written by somebody in a country that isn't concerned about what the US or "The West" wants. They'll be a linux version that takes advantage of all the horsepower modern desktops can bring to bare, although the UI will be rather sparse or it will just be CLI only.

    The only option left will be to keep a close eye on anybody taking college level maths classes. I don't think these congresscritters understand that just because they feel Pi is rather messy that passing a law making it exactly 3 will accomplish nothing. And chocolate milk IS NOT racist!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The average Jo(seph)

      Encryption software on modern linux distributions is no more graphically deprived than on any other operating system.

      Given some of the ways linux software is made available and managed in current desktop setups, it may be easier to find and install than on, for example, Windows.

      Given that Apple has been known to roll their own 'better' implementations of encyrption protocols and get it wrong, and the way both Apple and Microsoft give themselves control over your computer and data, linux would be my first choice for everything but computer games.

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