The Graham-Blumenthal bill would establish a “National Commission on Online Child Exploitation Prevention” tasked with recommending “best practices for providers of interactive computer services regarding the prevention of online child exploitation conduct.” But the Attorney General would have the power to override the Commission’s recommendations unilaterally. Internet platforms or services that failed to meet the AG’s demands could be on the hook for millions of dollars in liability.
It’s easy to predict how Attorney General William Barr would use that power: to break encryption. He’s said over and over that he thinks the “best practice” is to weaken secure messaging systems to give law enforcement access to our private conversations. The Graham-Blumenthal bill would finally give Barr the power to demand that tech companies obey him or face overwhelming liability from lawsuits based on their users’ activities. Such a demand would put encryption providers like WhatsApp and Signal in an awful conundrum: either face the possibility of losing everything in a single lawsuit or knowingly undermine their own users’ security, making all of us more vulnerable to criminals. The law should not pit core values—Internet users’ security and expression—against one another.
The Graham-Blumenthal bill is anti-speech, anti-security, and anti-innovation. Congress must reject it.
Source: EFF; https://act.eff.org/action/protect-our-speech-and-security-online-reject-the-graham-blumenthal-proposal
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