I'm currently writing a letter to my state Senator about their support for the EARN IT bill. I would appreciate if you guys would proof read it and give suggestions or corrections.
I am a [state] resident and a student who has grown up on the internet. I love the freedom given by such a vast encyclopedia of knowledge, entertainment, and possibility. This freedom does have its issues though. Child abuse and child pornography are despicable problems that plague the internet and the world. They need to be addressed, but I don't believe the EARN IT Act is the right solution to the problem, as it will actively harm encryption and the privacy of everyone
The proposal recommends "retention of evidence and attribution or user identification data relating to child exploitation or child sexual abuse, including such retention by subcontractors". This essentially makes encryption on messaging platforms impossible without backdoors. Not only would the messages have to be saved for evidence, but there would have to be a method that the company uses to reveal the contents of the message, this method being the backdoor. If they cannot do so, they would be subject to fines.
Encryption is championed by nearly all experts in technology for privacy of messages and security of information, such as banking details. Why ignore the experts? They feel the same about child exploitation as you do, so they must have good reason to value encryption over a measure that is possible to reduce it.
Regardless of the security issues of the EARN IT Act, I also have a concern about its constitutionality that needs to be addressed. The Fourth Amendment provides "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
It can be reasonably inferred that the author, if he had lived in 2020, would have included mention of technology in this. "Papers" refers to not only documents, but also letters, as they were a primary means of communication. Now, that means is online messaging. Many have suggested that the act could lead to government scanning of messages in order to prevent child sexual abuse material. While doing so would likely diminish the amount being distributed through platforms owned by large businesses, it would likely shift to other mediums such as the dark web. Such scanning would infringe upon the Fourth Amendment rights of every US citizen as it would be a unreasonable (since there is no reason to scan everyone indiscriminately) search of my "papers".