A group of Senate Republicans want to force technology companies to comply with “lawful access” to encrypted information, which basically means they're targeting end-to-end encryption again, and specifically taking aim at the type of security offered by the popular messaging service WhatsApp.
On Tuesday, Republican lawmakers introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act. The bill would end so-called “warrant-proof” encryption, as they like to call it, or “protecting your data and communications from hackers and other threats,” as we like to call it.
From reporting by Alfred Ng at CNET:
The bill was proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, along with Sens. Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn. If passed, the act would require tech companies to help investigators access encrypted data if that assistance would help carry out a warrant.
Lawmakers and the US Justice Department have long battled with tech companies over encryption, which can be used to encode data. The Justice Department argues that encryption prevents investigators from getting necessary evidence from suspects' devices, and has requested that tech giants provide "lawful access."
That could come in many ways, such as providing a key to unlock encryption that's only available for police requests. The FBI made a similar request to Apple in 2016 when it wanted to get data from a dead terrorist's iPhone in a San Bernardino, California, shooting case.
Giving access specifically to government agencies when requested is often referred to as an "encryption backdoor," something tech experts and privacy advocates have long argued endangers more people than it helps.
Read more at CNET:
Republicans push bill requiring tech companies to help access encrypted data