Proposed bill on encryption would make us all less safe: Editorial
April 13, 2016
Shah Sheikh (1294 articles)

Proposed bill on encryption would make us all less safe: Editorial

Could the federal government pass a law that would forbid you from whispering a secret to a friend?

Could authorities require that every conversation you had – at work, in a restaurant, out on the street – would be noted in a database that would be accessible should they wish to take a look?

Of course not. What could be more un-American than that?

But this, effectively, is how a draft proposal from a key Senate panel would treat all electronic communication.

Is it possible that the Senate Intelligence Committee doesn’t really know much about the technology behind the encryption they are seeking to change? Maybe. But it is perhaps more likely that the panel knows exactly what it is doing, and is trying to begin with a most-unreasonable position so that the final draft might seem, by comparison, wise and moderate.

One wonders. As the draft stands, the Senate’s top surveillance body has written a proposed law that is either totally inept or is an effort to undermine all privacy. There’s really no other way to see it.

This story is about so much more than a single iPhone. It’s about each individual’s fundamental right to privacy.

As we’ve noted in this space previously, and will doubtless feel the need to state again, any debate over privacy must return to a focus on the individual. Your business is your business. Unless and until you decide to make it someone else’s business, that’s all there is to it.

If you stroll over to your neighbor’s house to invite Mrs. Jones to a surprise party you’ll be staging for your daughter, that communication was between you and Mrs. Jones. It ought to be the same if you sent her a text message. Or called her on your iPhone.

What the feds want is something that Apple doesn’t have. Could it create it? Sure. But doing so would make everyone less secure.

The Senate bill would treat the second and third cases as distinctly different from the first. Why? Because there remains some sort of record of it, but not of your conversation. And there are those who just cannot stand the thought that there could be information they couldn’t access.

Your business is no less your business when some of it is digital. Or because there are those who’d do evil.

The proposed legislation, called the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, is based on nothing besides fear. Remember: Making our data less secure won’t keep us safe.

Source | MassLive