back to article You may be distracted by the pandemic but FYI: US Senate panel OK's backdoors-by-the-backdoor EARN IT Act

An amended version of America's controversial proposed EARN IT Act has been unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee – a key step in its journey to becoming law. This follows a series of changes and compromises that appear to address critics’ greatest concerns while introducing fresh problems. The draft …

  1. Graybyrd
    Devil

    Can no longer hide behind encryption?

    If Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham favor this bill, then obviously they see an opportunity to reveal the evil-doers. After all, if you got nothin' to hide, why then do you insist on hidin' it from the law with unbreakable encryption? (Seems it's gettin' closer to time to cancel all my online payment & banking accounts here in the U.S. Oh, damn. Trump is about to kill the US Postal Service. So, that's a double-whammy, then. Next up: Trump Courier Services?)

    1. You aint sin me, roit
      Coat

      Pssst... wanna buy some strong crypto?

      There was a time when RSA was classified as munitions, not to be exported from the States. Soon it will be illegal in the home of the free...

      Terrorists and mass shooters can get assault rifles and ammo (yes, real munitions) with no trouble. But ordinary people can't get strong crypto? Won't be long before we see a blackmarket trade in strong crypto...

      "I can do you some AES, and we're getting a fresh consignment of 2048 RSA from the UK next week."

      Mine's the one with brainpool curves in the pocket...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pssst... wanna buy some strong crypto?

        There is already a thriving market for encryption that is used by privacy seeking non-crims and crims alike. The recent cases of encrypted phones from a Canadian firm and the EncroChat system for example.

        1. terrythetech

          Re: Pssst... wanna buy some strong crypto?

          https://www.theregister.com/2020/07/02/encrochat_op_venetic_encrypted_phone_arrests/

          just goes to show you can't trust who you buy your encryption from

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Pssst... wanna buy some strong crypto?

            There is a campaign to reclassify encryption as a munition - then the 2nd amendment would guarantee people's right to it and make it impossible for any republican to object

  2. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Not Good.

    You cannot have law enforcement only backdoors because then everyone would have access to the backdoor and the encryption will be useless. The science says that you cannot have security with backdoor access. You can't change the science. Then there is the issue with state laws. You have 50 different states, and each one can pass their own legislation. This is a bad bill all the way around.

    1. Criminny Rickets

      Re: Not Good.

      You are forgetting that this is the Trump Republicans, who believe that hard scientific facts, are only suggestions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Good.

        ....and they further believe that those suggestions have a liberal bias. All of science has a liberal bias.

        You can see why they think that: Liberals follow the science, and form their opinions and policy on it. Republicans automatically oppose anything the Libs thinks, so they see science as supporting Libs, rather than Libs supporting science.

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Not Good.

          "Liberals follow the science.." when it is convenient and ignore it when it isn't. Just like any politician.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not Good.

            I was referring to citizens, not the politicians. We all know that all politicians follow what suits their agenda.

            Anyway, are there any liberal politicians? The squad, and Sanders... Not many others...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not Good.

          I think you forgot to parse "bipartisan" ....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not Good.

            Hahah, the Democrats aren't liberal.

            They are Republican lite.

            The "traditional" Republican party was less right wing than the current dems.

      2. SundogUK Silver badge

        Re: Not Good.

        Conveniently ignoring that the bill is strongly supported bu Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), one of Trumps most vociferous opponents.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not Good.

          Feinstein will vote for practically anything that enables surveillance. She was all for giving the FBI warrantless access to people's internet history.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not Good.

          Feinstein has been a wrong 'un since her days in local government. She was one of Dan White's apologists up to the point that it felt like she secretly approved of his crimes.

      3. terrythetech
        Facepalm

        Re: Not Good.

        and making pi 3 would make life so much easier

      4. Graybyrd
        Trollface

        Re: Not Good.

        It sorta makes one wish that they would challenge the "suggested" law of gravity by jumping off a high place.

      5. Mike Richards

        Re: Not Good.

        Australia got there first:

        “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia,” Bill Turnbull, then Prime Minister of 'The Lucky Country'

  3. steviebuk Silver badge

    We're all fucked....

    ....for a while. Until those "Police only" backdoors are leaked and they will be. Either by internal means or a state just throwing lots of resources at cracking said backdoor. Once it affects those senators, then they'll realise the mistake they made.

    For everyone else. We're all be snooped on. The terrorists? They won't be as they'll use or develop their own underground encrypted chat channel and when asked to allow a "backdoor" they'll tell the government to jog on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Once it affects those senators"

      Who's to say that they haven't already been compromised and are being blackmailed to pass this?

      Imagine a State being controlled by it's Security Services who themselves are unaccountable and out of control, or even worse, under the control of the Security Services of another state.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Leaked to the bad guys?

      They ARE the bad guys.

      This is a Republican thing, like the "Barr can snoop on any Americans internet without a warrant amendment", its pushed in the Senate by Mitch McConnell. These backdoors won't be leaked to the bad guys, THEY are the bad guys!

      They're the ones committing the big crimes. Example: look at Putin's bounty on US troops, It's the same thing as Syria, send US troops back in body bags, Trump does a photo op with the body bags, pretends to have empathy, withdraws the troops from Afghanistan, and Putin takes over those bases. The body bags are supposed to be Trump's excuse. *Big* crimes.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/battle-syria-us-russian-mercenaries-commandos-islamic-state-a8370781.html

      Do you think they would do that if there was any chance they would be out of power next year? Do you think they'd tolerate all these back doors and US surveillance laws wielded by a Democrat? Obviously no!

      We're further down the coup line now.

      1) It's crystal clear the Republican States have reseeded the Corona Virus, that will spread to the other states.

      2) The reduction in polling stations in Democrat leaning districts has happened and is crystal clear, e.g. 95% of polling stations in Kentucky closed (Mitch is Kentucky). Voters concentrated into only 5% of the polling sites, with Democrat leaning cities like Louisville forced into a single 'mega' polling station for a mega virus spread event.

      3) The "mail-in" ballots clauses, attached to the second bailout is blocked by the Republicans in the senate, so many states cannot vote by mail. It will not be released until too late for mail-in ballots.

      As predicted and as predictable.

      So, there will be a large turnout to vote against the Republicans.

      That will pack people into those few polling stations.

      Republican State Secretaries will close those polling stations early to suppress those votes.

      Republican appointed judges to the State Appeals Courts will back those decision to exclude those voters.

      There will be riots and protests that will need to be controlled. That takes surveillance and control of law enforcement. Barr has already subverted law enforcement. These bills are to add the surveillance element.

      So what are they missing?

      + Control of the Supreme Court. Roberts keeps sending strong signals that he won't back their coup.

      + An armed militia. Trump can only raise his 'whiney-Karens' not a 'Hitler Youth'.

      + Republican loyalty. You can see some of the States involved have chickened out. Texas Governor now regrets being involed. Florida DeSantis is still going for it. Call it what it is, intentional killing of large numbers of people for political ends is murder, DeSantis, murder.

      It's all going pear shaped for them. Look at the warrantless surveillance amendment, it failed to pass. The Putin killings in Afghanistan, details leaked, Trump can go see body bags of troops and pretend to be concerned about troops as he withdraws them and Russia moves in, but its clear those body bags are Trump quid-pro-quo.

      Nobody can touch US tech now, it has a Putin backdoor into it, because US has a Putin back door into it.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Who are the bad guys?

        They're the ones committing the big crimes. Example: look at Putin's bounty on US troops, It's the same thing as Syria, send US troops back in body bags, Trump does a photo op with the body bags, pretends to have empathy, withdraws the troops from Afghanistan, and Putin takes over those bases. The body bags are supposed to be Trump's excuse. *Big* crimes.

        Uh, OK.. Except there seems to be very little evidence that the bounty claim is actually true. There is however evidence of US financing groups in Syria, or supplying weapons. Then there's the issue of US bases and troops in Syria, in a "non-invasion honest" sense. And then there's the usual geopolitics. So Soviets invaded Afghanistan, US (and others) used it as a proxy war supporting the warlords that are now causing problems for coalition forces there.

        But such is politics. Russia's been a theme from the last election to the next, with a remarkable lack of evidence.. Except perhaps revealing murky goings on at organisations like the FBI. Which privacy-wise is perhaps more of an issue, ie dubious survelillance of political opponents. In theory, that had been eliminated post-Hoover, and a new, apolitical agency created.. In practice, perhaps not. So regardless of left/right divides, is it really a good idea to give future governments the tools to fight even dirtier? Maybe they can use them to provide real evidence, maybe given all the 'anonymous sources' and leaks.. nobody will believe them.

        Do you think they would do that if there was any chance they would be out of power next year? Do you think they'd tolerate all these back doors and US surveillance laws wielded by a Democrat? Obviously no!

        Do people really want those tools wielded by Democrats? I guess we'll find out in November, and remember, vote early, vote often! Personally, and as a non-US citizen, I think the Democrat's biggest threat is Biden. But he's the DNC's choice, so they'll only have someone else to blame.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leaked to the bad guys?

        Putin must be like that proverbial Jew in 1936 reading "Der Stürmer": "Hey, this is great stuff. It says that I run the world and everything that happens is controlled by my ever-vigilant intelligence network"!

    3. Someone Else Silver badge

      Once it affects "those" Senators...

      Don't think we can wait that long before the primary damage is done to we non-Senators.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: We're all fucked....

      "Once it affects those senators, then they'll realise the mistake they made."

      I admire your optimism. I unfortunately cannot see them ever understanding what this does, even if they are directly targeted by it. Even if the person who breaks in puts a message box on their screen saying "I could do this because of the act you passed", they'll probably go on thinking that it made total sense. Now, in order to find the person who broke into my computer system, I am proposing we pass the Encryption Violations and Intelligent Law Act, which will allow law enforcement to access information during investigations without a warrant as long as a copy of that data, encrypted or not, has ever existed outside the house of the subject, on the basis that current law only requires a warrant to search the houses of subjects so data isn't included.

  4. HildyJ Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Remember the French

    As was recently shown - https://www.theregister.com/2020/07/02/encrochat_op_venetic_encrypted_phone_arrests/ - you don't need a backdoor to break an encrypted crime ring, you just need smart investigators as opposed to lazy cops.

    But in Trump's America, surveillance is necessary because of the left wing radicals who, as believers in Pizzagate know, are responsible for child porn.

    No way out.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Remember the French

      Almost all child abuse is done by immediate family or by non-family that are very close and therefore almost family.

      This doesn't mean that there isn't any outside this, because there is, and while there is child abuse content on the Internet, where is the focus on resolving the societal issues around the greater part of the abuse that is not online? Instead it feels like it is being used solely to justify more and more draconian measures because what kind of monster would dare to oppose something that could protect children?

  5. ysth

    I think Mike Masnick says it beautifully: https://twitter.com/mmasnick/status/1278733089653444609

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      And removing protection for intellectual property law (Section 230 (e) (2)) would do exactly what regarding the backdoors being shoehorned?

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        From the article, which presumably you read before getting here:

        "Initial drafts of the law also contained two proposals that raised serious concerns from a broad range of groups and organizations. Firstly, the creation of a new 19-person committee that would be led by the Attorney General and dominated by law enforcement which would create content rules that tech companies would have to follow to retain legal protections. Secondly, and the suggestion that has security folks up in arms, is that those rules could require tech companies to provide Feds-only access to encrypted communications."

        Summarized from later in the same article:

        That panel: Still in the law. Still law enforcement.

        That panel empowered to require backdoors: No.

        Fifty state panels empowered: Yes.

        Fifty state panels restricted from requiring backdoors: No.

        Some state governments expressed interest in backdoors: Yes.

        So some states could make encryption illegal: Yes.

        So companies would have a patchwork approach: Yes.

        Which would be really tricky and open them up to lawsuits: Yes.

        Which companies like to avoid: Yes.

        Easy solution to that: Don't offer encryption inside U.S.

        1. Adelio Silver badge

          States

          As a NON US Citizen can someone tell me how having rules at state level works.

          If a state bans encryption is it only if the person LIVES in the state, or if the connection STARTS in the state. What if you are passing through the state, or on holiday? what if you live in the state and then cross the border to a state that allows encryption. Does my app suddenly allow encryption.

          What if I MOVE states?

          Who makes this stuff up? Not a sane person that is for sure.

          We are building software for retail purchases in the USA and it is totally bat shit crazy.

          You can have federal, state, city and country taxes of different sorts. a City can declare a tax holiday for a week for a particular tax! Please tell me you think this is a good thing?

          My guess is that the tax system is so complicated to make it almost impossible to regulate!

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: States

            Basically, you have a good understanding of the issue. Nothing is very clear. In general, if a state makes encryption illegal, then it is illegal for you to use encryption if you are physically in the state, to provide encryption to people in that state if you are not there, or to provide encryption to others using systems in that state. How much you care about each prohibition depends on what your state thinks about all this, your likelihood of going to the affected state, or whether you have money or other assets that state has the ability to go after. Federalism is weird sometimes.

          2. martinusher Silver badge

            Re: States

            You have a taste of this with the EU. The EU consists of a number of member states, each with their own laws and law enforcement mechanisms. The EU itself provides a common framework for those laws. The EU is a bit different because it pretends that its not a Federal republic (and so avoids all that Federal level democracy, making do with fig-leaves).

            If you want to see how this would work out in practice in the US just look at the laws and their enforcement with regard to marijuana. Its legal in a number of states but illegal at the Federal level so you could get problems if you transported a load of weed between states ("Intrastate commerce" is Federal jurisdication) or came to the attention of Federal law enforcement (such as a Border Patrol checkpoint). Enforcement of laws is hit and miss and unduly bureaucratic in California because local jurisdictions also have a say about what's legal to sell where. The result is that the industry bumps along avoiding situations where it could be regarded as problematical and the rest of us just wish the state licensing and enforcement people would just dissapear -- they're more trouble than they're worth. Mapped to encryption it will be a case of "you and who's army?" -- states don't have the manpower or expertise to get involved.

            As for the 'child abuse' thing, we've moved on from pizza parlors to on-line upscale furniture vendors as the 'conspiracy theory du jour'. There's some seriously weird people out there -- and a lot of them seem to be in Congress.

  6. Captain Hogwash
    Unhappy

    Don't use centralised, commercial services

    Run encrypted comms on your own decentralised, federated servers, or peer to peer, using FLOSS software. That would go a long way towards mitigating any effects this legislation might have on the availability of backdoor-free encrypted comms. The biggest problem, as ever, is getting people to care.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't use centralised, commercial services

      OR dealing with backdoored HARDWARE, which is harder to get around as there are fewer practical suppliers, especially in the more-esoteric stuff like network hardware

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Don't use centralised, commercial services

        True. Becoming a bigger problem in recent times.

    2. fajensen

      Re: Don't use centralised, commercial services

      Ok. I shall tell my bank and everyone else I need to interact with right away!

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Don't use centralised, commercial services

        I don't think they're really going after banking transactions. Interpersonal comms is what they're after. If it is about financial stuff then my original suggestions are irrelevant.

        1. terrythetech
          Unhappy

          Re: Don't use centralised, commercial services

          They may not be going for banking transactions but once the encryption is broken...

          ... or maybe there is an exception for banking and financial trading. Is there?

          1. Captain Hogwash

            Re: once the encryption is broken...

            Why would they bother trying to break it? That's just PR. They'll just make it illegal except for approved uses (e.g. banking) They'll just mandate that e.g. WhatsApp can no longer be used legally in e.g. Arizona unless the encryption is removed. Facebook will then either produce a crypto-free version for Arizona and other states which have gone the same route, or just drop it from the app altogether. They probably won't want to maintain two versions so most likely will do the latter. If the law only targets WhatsApp perhaps they'll do the former to remain competitive where encryption has not been banned. They could even keep the crypto and make it location aware. But once one of these apps has been targeted it's likely that others will follow leading to pressure to drop it from all of them. That's the problem (among many) with these centralised networks - one point at which to apply pressure breaks the whole thing.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: once the encryption is broken...

              Or the first state to require this gets targetted.

              No Google, no Facebook, no Netflix, no Amazon, no iTunes, no Gmail - Arizona goes back to the 1970s

              See how long it lasts before its voters revolt.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: once the encryption is broken...

                That's likely not how that would work. First, it requires tech companies, most or all of them, to choose altruism and privacy over profit and friends in government. They're already not willing to do that; why will they when it's even more painful? Most of the big companies don't really care much about encryption. They provide it some of the time, but mostly they don't bother. The primary exception among the giants is Apple, but Apple alone probably can't do much about this, especially as they don't run public online platforms anyway so they're safer than most from the effects.

                Of course, if some company does decide to turn off a state for those reasons, that state will almost certainly find a way to go after them. They could, for example, sue them for violations if they can get any connection from that state to the encrypted system run outside it. States have power to arrest employees or get assets the company might have there, so if they want to force a company to comply with the law in one specific way, they have some tools they can use to try to make that happen.

                1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                  Re: once the encryption is broken...

                  Remember this law doesn't just ban encryption - it makes the tech giants subject to state laws as well as the feds.

                  Some jury in East Texas rules that Amazon can't show Chinese goods or California votes that Google can't show results for guns or an Alabama church sues Microsoft because their kid saw porn on a windows machine

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should be honest, some Republicans are mad Twitter etc won't let people say vile things and just want to damage those platforms. The committee as a whole has never passed on the chance to enable surveillance.

    "CSAM" is yet again just the excuse, if it was the reason they'd be hounding the DOJ and FBI to implement their congressional mandate.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      But we need this law to fight (checks list) the British, Nazis, communists, Hippies, Terrorists, child porn

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    end-to-end encryption

    "Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), that stated online platforms won’t face civil or criminal liability if they are unable to break end-to-end encryption in their own services".

    Senators shouldn't be let anywhere near technology. It's not end to end if there is a "man in the middle" somehow de-crypting and re-encrypting to the eventual end party. Pretty sure a key would only be on the end devices and any break in that would not just be used by Law Enforcement/Gov but bad/malicious actors (and foreign governments).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: end-to-end encryption

      I don't think they care. This is probably just an inroad to outlawing any and all encryption, full-stop, unless it's government-sanctioned. You see it already in China.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To paraphrase an old idiom....

    When America farts (or should that be Trumps ?), the rest of the World ends up smelling it.

    1. fobobob

      The world is a deceptively small lift, hurtling through space.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let the Games begin & may the odds be ever in your favour :P

    I am entirely convinved the best way to combat these idiots who suggest backdoors and that maths must obey our national laws nutjob (looking at you Australia) is for all the social media platforms like Facebook (and all their subsidiary companies like Insta/Whatsapp etc) / Twitter / Linkedin / Telegram / Signal and so many others that I'm sure I've missed because I dont do much in the way of social media to come together and say to all the governments who a dumb enough to suggest these things;

    "Ok, you want us to break our products, fine we understand that. If you want us to do that it'll drive people who are paying attention away from our products into the arms of others. The result is we might be unlikely to continue providing our products. Lets just demostrate to you what that will be like by turning all our services off for a week." (and by this I mean a total blackout of their services, not even customer service droids responding)

    Then after 3 days when every country is suffering from mass rioting tell the gov they'll turn them back on if they will listen to the scientists, mathematicians and other experts and leave encryption alone, otherwise the services stay off for another week. Those companies will survive, the countries that are now dependant upon, not so much.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Let the Games begin & may the odds be ever in your favour :P

      And if the government replies that Facebook and the like are trying to play the Big Brother card when in fact THEY'RE the Big Brother?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let the Games begin & may the odds be ever in your favour :P

        If the Governments take action against the social media companies, then their hypocrisy will be exposed and no doubt they will suffer from worse democratic engagement and more domestic unrest as the people try to make their voices heard in a manner that cant just be ignored or swept under the carpet

        At least thats what I hope the people would do, but lowest common denominator & YMMV etc, after all there comes a point when enough is enough

        And I must apologies to STP for stealing this, but the thought is appropiate to the convo applied to the situation; “Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo.”

        By forcing companies in this manner, all Elgovs around the world will get eventually is moo

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Let the Games begin & may the odds be ever in your favour :P

          You assume Joe Stupid understands all this. Recall 2016...

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Let the Games begin & may the odds be ever in your favour :P

      Reminds me of the old joke about the various body parts wanting to be the "boss"....

  11. John Savard

    Democrats

    Since not all Democrats share Diane Feinstein's position on this bill, isn't it likely to face some difficulty in getting through the House as amended, if at all?

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Democrats

      From your lips to Pelosi's ear....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Democrats

      Hence the "for the children" pretense to make voting against it as political unpalatable as possible. They're easily manipulated and corrupt.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Democrats

      I thought that about the surveillance bills passed in the early 2000s. Then I stopped thinking that, which was good because it's painful to be wrong and I would have experienced that pain every year or so when they blindly reauthorized those powers, even as revelation after revelation came through about what those powers were being used for. Why should I believe that any politician, other than perhaps Senator Wyden, understands or cares about privacy and security? I have seen no evidence in favor and quite a bit of it against.

  12. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    You are a fool to make this issue partisan

    I don't care if straight party line votes ensue at some point. If we are going to beat this thing for even one generation, it must be a bypartisan effort.

    Janet Reno supported Clipper.

    As I've posted before, the FBI has steadily pushed for this garbage under every administration. AGs have tended to follow along. The NSA has opposed them.

    Sure, it's easier to condemn every Republican than to engage them. Maybe it's even more fun for you. But we have FAR more influence on Republican members of congress than you do. Convincing them might, you know, help stop the bill.

    But you make it a partisan issue, plenty of Republicans will believe you. You've made my job of convincing them a LOT harder.

    Yes, we're WAY past time to pull back blanket immunity. Punting it to the states is an abdication (to fifty successors). Backdooring is flat-earth level idiocy. But implying that no D administration would support or abuse such powers? Give it up already.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You are a fool to make this issue partisan

      I fully agree. More so since total control over the Great Unwashed has always been any ruler's wet dream, from antiquity on. All rulers dream of having some solid means to avoid riots, revolts, revolutions, and whatever else could trouble their ongoing pursuit of personal power and wealth.

      In short, this is politically so tempting that it really requires some huge motivation to not pass it in its worst possible form. (And I'm willing to bet that other countries are watching this closely, preparing to do the same as soon as they make sure it's possible.)

    2. Someone Else Silver badge

      @Claptrap314 - Re: You are a fool to make this issue partisan

      But we have FAR more influence on Republican members of congress than you do. Convincing them might, you know, help stop the bill

      Who's 'we', Kimosabe? For that matter, who's 'you'?

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: @Claptrap314 - You are a fool to make this issue partisan

        Republican activists, and a Republican activist respectively.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About those "weak" private ciphers......

    Quote: "...provide Feds-only access to encrypted communications..."

    *

    But how many folk are or will be encrypting their messages BEFORE THE MESSAGES ENTER A COMPROMISED CHANNEL? All these private ciphers will be a HUGE NON-STANDARD headache for the snoopers. Unintended consequences! So much for backdoors!

    *

    Here's a message encrypted before entering the El Reg channel......you're welcome ro decipher it!

    *

    1GVv1fMe0ko31YeN1LV11mC$0Sjo0wbz1AjM0WQl

    043K0K6d1asB0bam0Nkn0rqn1YNL1Ie=06bg1aKj

    0Ceo1Bkz0ZUb13Ty0jGo0F7J0i1e1iTN0w$I0QKb

    10x40dDS0coa0Qbl1mHY0jHg0$Jb0AI91dDg1m6C

    1bwB1SYX1fM11N$w00Vg0vnY1Bew1kcc0jot068$

    0WnF0qJP0=Jx1P9S0VrF1fR=0Sm90Ep207xK1meg

    0B0A1R$v1Pn507Uk03VH04Y$0L5M1Vwy1ebL1mgf

    00mS1FI71jmR1kgn1M3Y0QIY0Ywr1Lre1Dmo04IO

    1jka17=g1dyF0gWL0UVV04WM1TJL0Ocd1MaQ18H$

    11qB130y1bfA1F5a0ZNh1P7b17Xf0vF31T640nBe

    1jJ60CIq0Akd14VS0RpN0PKJ1mUq1WBw1gea17cF

    1iEz1GWa15C=1QLd0Wun0VZ=0$4$18yE0jRc1EP6

    0RnA0HPm0KjR0F=H1QWq0PP7

    *

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: About those "weak" private ciphers......

      The UK simply made it a crime not to decrypt the message on demand.

      The wording actually said you had to provide the meaning of any message in your possession, so hopefully you don't have a copy of Finegans Wake or Paradise Lost around the house.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: About those "weak" private ciphers......and those UK crimes.....

        A crime.....but in order to demand decryption, you have to find the source or the destination.

        *

        The people in question probably won't be using El Reg! But they might be using burner phones, hijacked WiFi, internet cafes, VPNs.....and who know what other means of avoiding identification.

        *

        Only those who want to be caught will be using devices with identifiable accounts.

        *

        So.....who gets charged with this crime on the UK statute book? And will that be too late anyway?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: About those "weak" private ciphers......and those UK crimes.....

          Look, if they REALLY want you, there's always Parallel Construction.

  14. msobkow Silver badge

    And once again the *brilliant* 70-80 year old men in the US government are trying to dictate how technology works, instead of learning how it does so.

    You have to laugh at them, or else you'll be in tears. :(

  15. msobkow Silver badge

    Simple solution. Encrypt your data using non-US algorithms before you transmit anything at all. It is trivial to invoke encryption libraries on blobs of data and then convert them to base64 for transmission or reception, with your own keys that are NOT part of the SSH sessions.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Then they'll just get you for conspiracy to commit terrorism, at least until they ban encryption altogether. Until then, they can always resort to parallel construction.

  16. DrM
    FAIL

    People's Committe on Free Speech

    Oh, that sounds good. A non-elected committee deciding what can be said on social media, and what cannot. I think they used to have that in Russia?

    1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: People's Committe on Free Speech

      No, that was the USSR.

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