Obama Should Reject Anti-Encryption Legislation and Protect Digital Security

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Obama Should Reject Anti-Encryption Legislation and Protect Digital Security

33 civil liberties organizations and companies in issuing a joint letter to the president

"It is beyond dispute that the bill would threaten the safety of billions of internet users, including journalists, activists, and ordinary people exercising their right to free expression, as well as critical infrastructure systems and government databases." (Photo: Shutterstock)

Dozens of nonprofit organizations, companies, and academics sent a joint letter on Monday urging President Obama to take a strong stance against backdoors and oppose legislation that would undermine security.

The coalition effort—which included EFF, Access Now, Fight for the Future, and others— was organized after The Hill published a draft of anti-security legislation written by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The draft bill would create a new obligation on device manufacturers, software developers, ISPs, online services and others to decrypt encrypted data or offer "such technical assistance as is necessary" if ordered to do so by any court in the country.

From the joint letter:

It is beyond dispute that this bill would threaten the safety of billions of internet users, including journalists, activists, and ordinary people exercising their right to free expression, as well as critical infrastructure systems and government databases. However, it would likely to do very little to assist in investigations of crime or terrorism, since those who engage in illegal activities will have access to other means to protect their own devices and communications.

Today’s letter comes 167 days after the pro-encryption petition at SaveCrypto.org surpassed 100,000 signatures, achieving the threshold for receiving an official response from the president. To date, there has still been no substantive response from the administration. The White House has “aimed” to respond to petitions with 100,000 signatures within 60 days.

Read the full letter to President ObamaSpeak out against the Burr-Feinstein proposal.

Rainey Reitman

Rainey Reitman leads the activism team at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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