‘Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act’ is Latest Encryption Attack

· Andrew Orr · Link

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act yesterday. It seeks to bring back the Crypto Wars of the 1990s by crippling encryption with the introduction of backdoors.

Yet increasingly, technology providers are deliberately designing their products and services so that only the user, and not law enforcement, has access to content – even when criminal activity is clearly taking place.  This type of “warrant-proof” encryption adds little to the security of the communications of the ordinary user, but it is a serious benefit for those who use the internet for illicit purposes.

”Adds little to the security of the communications of the ordinary user.” That’s the level of contempt these people have for the rest of us.

Senate Vote Lets FBI View Your Browsing History Without Warrant

· Andrew Orr · Link

Image of U.S. senate

As part of a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, the Senate voted to let the FBI access Americans’ web browsing history without a warrant. I could say a lot of bad things about this, but this is the part that disappoints me the most:

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) attempted to remove the expanded powers from the bill with a bipartisan amendment.

But in a shock upset, the privacy-preserving amendment fell short by a single vote after several senators who would have voted “Yes” failed to show up to the session, including Bernie Sanders. 9 Democratic senators also voted “No,” causing the amendment to fall short of the 60-vote threshold it needed to pass.

Just one vote.

Senators Introduce COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act

· Andrew Orr · Link

Supreme court

Today a group of Republican senators announced plans to introduce the COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act.

The legislation would provide all Americans with more transparency, choice, and control over the collection and use of their personal health, geolocation, and proximity data. The bill would also hold businesses accountable to consumers if they use personal data to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

A good move, I think. We need thoughtful legislation passed to preempt the contact tracing train.

You Could be Fined up to $15,000 For Sharing Memes

· Andrew Orr · Link

The Senate is moving a bill forward that could impose fines of up to US$15,000 for people who share memes.

The Senate Judiciary Committee last week approved the “Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019,” which “creates a voluntary small claims board within the Copyright Office that will provide copyright owners with an alternative to the expensive process of bringing copyright claims, including infringement and misrepresentation …. in federal court,” according to the Copyright Alliance.

“This new board, called the Copyright Claims Board (CCB), would allow recovery in each case of up to $30,000 in damages total, with a cap of $15,000 in statutory damages per work infringed,” according to the alliance, an advocacy group for the copyright industry.

15 Senators Introduce American Privacy Bill

· Andrew Orr · News

Unlike Europe the United States doesn’t have GDPR, but that could change with the introduction of an American privacy bill put forth by 15 Senators.

US Senate Forcing Vote to Restore Net Neutrality

· Jeff Gamet · News

Protesters marching to protect net neutrality

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s dream to kill net neutrality could come to an end because the U.S. Senate is forcing a vote to restore the protections.