26 votes

Terrible, dangerous EARN IT act set to move forward in the senate; attack on both encryption and free speech online

5 comments

  1. [2]
    MetArtScroll
    Link
    This comment by an anonymous user on TechDirt was voted as the “first word” there (the bold emphasis at the end is the original comment author's, the italic emphasis is mine):

    This comment by an anonymous user on TechDirt was voted as the “first word” there (the bold emphasis at the end is the original comment author's, the italic emphasis is mine):

    FAR WORSE THAN JUST AN ATTACK ON ENCRYPTION

    Most of the criticism of the EARN IT bill has been focused on the fact that it can be used as a way to compel internet companies to get rid of encryption. This to me is a disservice to those who fight for internet freedom, as encryption is just the tip the iceberg of the possible problems this bill could cause.

    In a nutshell, what the EARN IT bill would do is launch a process by congress and various "expert organizations" to create a new government agency which would decide on what "best practices" websites would have to comply with to keep their section 230 immunity. Sure, one of those practices could be disallowing the use of encryption. But that's far from the only horrible policy which could come out of this. Some examples I can think of:

    • Possibly requiring data retention of logs of site activity for each user for a minimum amount of time.
    • Mandating the use of filtration technologies. (And we all know how unreliable that garbage is.)
    • Requiring submission of personal information to use site services. (Hackers would love this one.)
    • Possibly real name policies.
    • Mandated reporting of suspicious activity. (Combine that with filters, imagine the kind of legal hell that could spawn.)
    • Mandated tracking of IP addresses known to have been used by sex offenders. (Because we all know how reliable an IP by itself is, right.)

    Let your imagination run wild on all the horrible proposals this bill could spawn should it become law. And don't forget that it's not just websites that benefit from section 230, but also ISPs, online services and protocols, and basically everything connected online.

    The EARN IT Act is not merely an "attack on encryption". It is a blank check for the U.S. Government to fuck with the internet in any manner of their choosing, tucked inside a trojan horse of "protecting children".

    15 votes
  2. joplin
    Link
    Agree with almost everything this article says except this: No it's not! Congress thinks it's a good bill because they think it will give them pretty much unlimited power to surveil citizens. They...

    Agree with almost everything this article says except this:

    It is extremely unclear why anyone thinks (1) this is a good bill, or (2) it needs to move forward right now.

    No it's not! Congress thinks it's a good bill because they think it will give them pretty much unlimited power to surveil citizens. They need to move it forward right now so they can start surveilling us as quickly as possible! It's pretty much that simple.

    6 votes
  3. [2]
    dblohm7
    Link
    Ben Adida posted an excellent thread on Twitter about politicians and encryption laws.

    Ben Adida posted an excellent thread on Twitter about politicians and encryption laws.

    5 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      That's a pretty awesome story! However, I think it misses the point that Congress isn't arguing (or legislating) in good faith. They know full well that what they're asking for (encryption that...

      That's a pretty awesome story! However, I think it misses the point that Congress isn't arguing (or legislating) in good faith. They know full well that what they're asking for (encryption that can only be broken/turned off by law enforcement, or alternately "safe-to-use-but-not-encrypted" services) doesn't exist. They want everything weakened so they can use more surveillance on us. They don't care about the fact that it will let malicious actors gather info about us because it also allows them to gather info about us.

      5 votes