Senators Diane Feinstein & Lindsey Graham’s War Against Encryption During COVID-19

Dion McNeil

It appears some politicians are trying to stop end-to-end encryption under the mask and cover of a bill to protect children. It was perfectly possible to get this bill without infringing upon constitutional rights or limiting liability coverage for tech companies.

One would think that U.S. Politicians would be more focused on helping citizens during this time. People have lost their jobs at high levels. Unemployment claims have swamped states across the U.S. During this time, citizens are more focused on making ends meet versus spying on each other. However, the same can’t be the said for U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Diane Feinstein (D-California). Instead of putting 100% of their efforts into helping Americans find jobs, funds, and food these two senators, and others, appear to have focused on bringing an end to end-to-end encryption.

The bill that was introduced into the U.S. Senate is called The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act or EARN IT Act. The stated purpose of this bill is to try to curve the online exploitation of children by forcing tech companies to utilize “best practices” and earning liability protection. That’s right. If a company doesn’t use what the U.S. Government considers to be the “best practices” the company will lose the liability protection that once existed without these rules or limitations. Here is a copy of the bill: EARN IT ACT

Senator Graham is quoted as saying, This bill is a major first step. For the first time, you will have to earn blanket liability protection when it comes to protecting minors. Our goal is to do this in a balanced way that doesn’t overly inhibit innovation, but forcibly deals with child exploitation.” Senator Graham is correct in suggesting that child exploitation is a serious issue. However, that isn’t the only dangerous element at play here.

Why is this dangerous and what does this have to do with end-to-end encryption?

First, this bill was given this name on purpose. Whenever politicians invoke children or the “Won’t Someone Think of the Children” meme then you just know there’s some misdirection happening. To understand why this is dangerous one must understand the implications of the EARN IT Act. The Federal Government would get what it always wanted and that is more control and/or ability to penalize tech companies. This is a dangerous tool because it would give the Federal Government a window into our lives under the guise of protecting children. Social media companies could be 100% responsible for what someone posts on their site. It can be virtually impossible to police content from a site such as Twitter that has 145 million daily users.

If you want to understand what this means for end-t0-end encryption then read this quote from Senator Graham: “Facebook is talking about end-to-end encryption which means they go blind. We’re not going to go blind and let this abuse go forward in the name of any other freedom.”

Pay attention to the underlined word above. We’re not talking about people who were convicted of anything but just suspected of engaging in child exploitation. There wouldn’t be a court case yet and the Federal Government would have free reign to go through social media posts and bore through or prevent end-to-end encryption. This is a sneaky and backdoor attempt to engage in even more mass surveillance while using the “but don’t you wanna protect the kiddos” excuse to do so. That is why the EARN IT Act is so dangerous. Merely questioning the act could promote someone to call another person a pedophile or promote claims that a person questioning this legislation doesn’t care about kids. What does it say about a U.S. Senator going around proclaiming that people who haven’t been convicted of a crime yet suggesting that their freedoms and the freedoms of U.S. companies don’t matter if law enforcement suspects child exploitation? Whatever happened to due process?

Senators Graham and Blumenthal wrote the bill. They both had to know the American people would likely be outraged over this bill if it were not for the veil of child protection. This is how politics works. Once someone goes out in public and questions this bill that person will be met with all sorts of questions, suspicions, and accusations because of the bill’s stated purpose. The Federal Government has always wanted more invasive capabilities into the social media use of Americans and tech companies. Since the 1st Amendment protects free speech and the 4th Amendment is supposed to protect privacy, the Federal Government requires ways to sneak in legislation while at the same time preventing a fuss from the people and silencing anyone who would dare oppose such an act.

Whenever a politician names a bill something like, “The Protect Innocent Fluffy Orphan Panda Bear Babies From AR-9000 Automatic Monster” act then just know that are some shenanigans afoot. While it is important to protect children that could easily be done without infringing upon the rights of American citizens. Some people can’t see past the smoke and mirrors of politics to realize when a politician is trying to implement Trojan Horse legislation.

This should come at no surprise. Senator Graham also supports red flag laws that would preemptively disarm Americans who haven’t been convicted of any crime. With that legislation, Senator Graham went for the easiest target at the time which was gun violence. This man is supposed to be a Republican and if many on the political left are to be believed Republicans are supposedly pro-gun. However, his support of red flag laws should demonstrate to those on the political left, right, and center that if Republicans are supposed to be pro-gun then Senator Graham would gladly turn his back on Republican voters who are more likely to be pro-gun for the sake of potentially infringing upon constitutionally guaranteed rights. What does it say about a man who brought about legislation that much of his base would be against and the result of that legislation is more power over citizens via the Federal Government?

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