How Would a US Ban on End to End Encryption Affect Cryptocurrency?
According to reports US lawmakers and the Department of Justice want to ban end-to-end encryption in the name of protecting the children. This could have implications for cryptocurrency.
The reports are suggesting that Attorney General William Barr has questioned the use of encryption to turn devices into ‘law-free zones’.
The primary concern is firms like Apple which have full control over their devices and refuse to provide a backdoor to aid law enforcement in criminal investigations and other matters of national security.
US Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is drafting a new bill that could potentially outlaw the use of encryption in the name of protecting children. He has repeatedly called the iPhone a ‘safe haven for criminals’.
At the White House Summit on Human Trafficking last week Barr joined those calls with his views on the technology.
“We all recognize that encryption is important in the commercial world to protect consumers like us from cybercriminals, but now, we’re seeing military-grade encryption being marketed on consumer products like cellphones and social media platforms and messaging services, and that means that we cannot get access to this data.”
Senior staff lawyer in the Center for Democracy at the American Civil Liberties Union, Brett Max Kaufman, said encryption reliably protects consumers’ sensitive data. He added that technology providers should continue to make their products as safe as possible and resist pressure from all governments to undermine the security of the tools they offer.
The new draft bill called the ‘Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act’ will modify the Communications Decency Act’s Section 230 to make companies liable in state criminal cases and civil lawsuits over child abuse and exploitation.
Many of these suggested best practices such as offering parental controls and setting age limits are acceptable but the bill also requires tech firms to ‘preserve, remove from view, and report’ and material as well as retain any evidence that may pertain to such cases which effectively turns them into digital crypto cops.
If passed, the law would also require companies such as Telegram to allow backdoor government access to encrypted information. This would also provide a ‘golden key’ vulnerability for hackers and malicious actors. It may also affect the cryptocurrency industry.
Fundstrat’s Tom Lee commented on the possible implications to the cryptocurrency industry.
“If true, would have some negative impact on crypto and digital assets which are grounded by cryptography”
If true, would have some negative impact on crypto and digital assets which are grounded by cryptography https://t.co/Rze94Oo916
— Thomas Lee (@fundstrat) February 5, 2020
Cryptocurrency does not appear to be the target here and the concerns are largely focused on the likes of Apple which keeps a tight leash on its products, even from its own customers.
Digital finance is a completely different arena to social media and data, especially involving minors, so it is unlikely there will be any great impact on decentralized crypto assets.
Will the new law affect cryptocurrency? Add your thoughts below.