In our 697th issue:
In most issues of EFFector, we give an overview of all the work we’re doing at EFF. This week, we’re focusing on how lawmakers are trying to regulate encryption and what you can do about it.
The FBI made headlines when it backed away from its dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to force Apple to subvert its own product’s security. But today, there’s a new threat to your right to secure devices and private communications. This threat is aimed not just at one phone or one manufacturer, but at everyone who uses encryption.
If a few senators get their way, any court in the U.S. will be able to force nearly any company to decrypt any encrypted data that it handles.
The draft bill—proposed by Sens. Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein—reflects an ignorance of everyday computer security practices that safeguard your devices and information from criminals. Quite simply, the Burr-Feinstein bill would be a security disaster.
Burr-Feinstein might just be the tip of the iceberg. This year, the California legislature considered a bill that would have banned encrypted smartphones unless those phones’ manufacturers were able to comply with a court order to break the encryption. And just this week in a congressional hearing, law enforcement officials argued for pressuring Apple and Android to keep strong encryption software from being allowed on their devices at all.
Thanks to many of you speaking up, the California bill died in committee. But it’s essential that lawmakers keep hearing from people like you: people who understand why strong encryption makes everyone safer.
Millions of Americans suffer the loss, theft, or compromise of intimate communications, trade secrets, and identities each year. We desperately need more security, not less. Laws that discourage manufacturers from offering secure products and services move us in precisely the wrong direction.
Let’s make the message loud and clear to Congress: don’t compromise our security.
Let’s Strengthen Crypto, Not Attack It
There are two bills in Congress to strengthen encryption and stop reckless attempts by law enforcement to build backdoors. The ENCRYPT Act and the Secure Data Act would keep our communications and transactions safe, thus ensuring more security for everyone.
This is a crucial moment for the future of crypto. Actions Congress takes this year could have long-reaching implications for your right to privacy and security. Tell your members of Congress not to fall for attempts to scapegoat encryption, and instead, to champion digital security for everyone.
Reuters: White House Declines to Support Encryption Legislation
White House sources say that although President Obama hasn’t publicly opposed the Burr-Feinstein proposal, he won’t work to support it either.
Motherboard: Anti-Encryption Social Media Campaign Backfires Spectacularly
When the New York Police Department and Manhattan District Attorney tried to launch a pro-backdoor social media campaign, people came out in droves to defend encryption.
Wired: WhatsApp Just Switched on Encryption for a Billion People
One of the most popular apps in the world now has end-to-end encryption turned on by default.
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Elliot Harmon, Activist
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EFF at the Eleventh HOPE
We are excited to be a part of the Eleventh HOPE conference! HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) returns to New York for its eleventh iteration this year, hosted by our friends at 2600.
July 22–24, 2016
New York City, NY
During the month of April, 10% of all ticket sales will be donated to support EFF’s work!
EFF Senior Staff Technologist Seth Schoen and Membership Coordinator Maggie Kazmierczak will be representing EFF at LinuxFest Northwest. Stop by our table in the expo hall to learn what EFF is up to and how you can get involved.
April 24, 2016
EFF at IgniteSF
Learn everything you need to know about Apple vs. FBI in five minutes, courtesy of EFF Global Policy Analyst Eva Galperin.
April 26, 2016
San Francisco, CA
EFF at re:publica
Join us at the Internet and society conference in Berlin. EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression Jillian C. York will speak about anti-nudity policies on social networks.
May 2–4, 2016
Copyright in the Digital Environment: Innovative Solutions from Creators and Users
EFF is hosting a special side event during the meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. Our event seeks to amplify some voices that are often absent in international copyright discussions, particularly in the world of music. Renowned musician Imogen Heap will deliver a keynote presentation.
May 12, 2016
EFF at Maker Faire Bay Area
Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Stop by the EFF booth to learn what we're working on and how you can get involved.
May 20–22, 2016
San Mateo, CA
EFF at Point
EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression Jillian C. York will speak at Point, the gathering of Southeastern European civil society organizations.
May 25, 2016
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina