Towards providing solutions to many criminal activities being committed online, the United States Senate is considering the enactment of the US encryption ban bill.
At a Summit in the US White House where human trafficking was being discussed, Barr campaigned against end-to-end encryption. He revealed that military-grade security components are facilitating human trafficking through closed networks.
He said that as we are in the digital age, everyone including criminals bank on the Internet and technology to operate. However, the evidence to be used against these criminals who operate online continues to get encrypted.
Reportedly, through “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (or EARN IT) Act,” draft bill, US lawmaker Lindsey Graham targets encryption.
Details of the US encryption ban bill
The proposed bill is targeted at placing an embargo on contents whose audience are kids on the Internet and social media. The bill requests that the government and relevant authorities can gain access to individual privacy for monitoring. Private messaging apps with end-to-end encryption feature will thereby forfeit their privacy rights.
However, another source of concern is that after the government and authorities gain this access, it could be used by corrupt individuals. The US encryption ban bill also would be extended beyond individual data to cryptocurrency as information through blockchain networks are discrete and anonymous.
Encryption hurdles and cryptocurrency
Thomas Lee, a financial analyst revealed in a tweet that the US encryption ban bill will have adverse effects on cryptocurrency and digital assets.
If true, would have some negative impact on crypto and digital assets which are grounded by cryptography https://t.co/Rze94Oo916
— Thomas Lee (@fundstrat) February 5, 2020
However, Edward Snowden has awakened peoples’ consciousness about the need to monitor activities of the government and its authorities; likewise, the US government felt compelled to monitor crypto transactions, which goes against the blockchain principle of an ecosystem free from control from any external agency
The concerns of the US government that Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency can be used to circumvent capital controls and can be used for money laundering or illegal purchases are valid. Additionally, others have voiced more systemic concerns over the decentralized cryptocurrency’s potential to destabilize or undermine the authority or control of central banks.
On the other hand, another pending Bill that the US Senate proposed is about centralized control of all cryptographic activities, to wit:
The first read of the bill is chilling. Strong cryptography within the United States would effectively be banned, preventing U.S. companies from building secure software. These companies would be mandated to provide real technical assistance. Unlike the best effort of today, they would be required to give plain-text data in its original format or risk penalties for violating the law.
These issues circa 2016 were already being discussed over on the Technology Subreddit (reddit.com). Another good discussion was in the Hacker News comments section of the Hill article that broke this story Senate encryption bill draft mandates ‘technical assistance’.
Other countries like India have been caught in similar situations and proposed more creative solutions, win-win solutions.
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