Senate Bill Crafted With D.E.A. Targets End-to-End Encryption

Speaking of creepy and pervasive surveillance, the U.S. Senate Commission on the Judiciary, in a Friday press release, triumphantly announced it had advanced a bill turning communications providers into narcs:

Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bipartisan Cooper Davis Act, introduced by U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), to the full Senate on a bipartisan vote of 16-5. The bill, as amended, would require social media companies to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms.

Suzanne Smalley, the Record:

Many privacy advocates caution that, if passed in its current form, the bill could be a death blow to end-to-end encryption services because it includes particularly controversial language holding companies accountable for conduct they don’t report if they “deliberately blind” themselves to the violations.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley have repeatedly accused social media platforms and tech companies of being biased against U.S. conservative positions in their moderation choices — though which positions is often something they dodge — and obviously do not trust them to decide what is acceptable. Yet all of them were among those who voted to advance this bill (PDF). They seem to believe tech companies are able to monitor and discern the meaning of deliberately cryptic messages which could be about drugs and should report senders to the D.E.A., but they do not think they should suspend people who are engaging in any rhetoric — no matter how hateful or dehumanizing — if it is even remotely suggestive of conservative beliefs. Ridiculous.

This was, as acknowledged in the press release, a bipartisan vote. Policymakers around the world continue their push to undermine encryption.