Victor Ugochukwu · Oct 22, 2020 . 5min read
US Senate Introduces an Anti-Encryption Data Bill
This bill brazenly advocates for a redesign of encryption schemes tech giants like Apple and Google may possess.
By Victor Ugochukwu · Jul 10, 2020 . 10min read
The United States through its Senate introduces an anti-encryption data bill. This bill if passed is geared at gaining access into any encrypted data any technology company manages or creates.
The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act as it is named was introduced by Senators Graham, Blackburn, and Cotton, all Republican. Republicans are known to be vehement advocates of lean government. But have in this case ignored expert consensus and public opinion on the matter.
So much for a Capitalist Nation who keeps calling out China as a Surveillance State
This anti-encryption data bill if successfully passed as law gives the Justice Department the huge powers. It will be able to require that manufacturers of encrypted devices comply. This includes manufactures of operating systems, communications providers, and many others must have the ability to decrypt data upon request. It’s simply a backdoor if you decide not to pet words. This comes against the backdrop of the US always strongly criticizing China as a surveillance state. Most recently, Congress and India issued out a ban on TikTok owned by Bytedance, a Chinese firm.
This bill brazenly advocates for a redesign of encryption schemes tech giants like Apple and Google may possess. Anything may not allow the government, the tech company except the users’ access may fall under the gavel.
Popular Messaging App Telegram, may have been Subdued using SEC as the Siege Weapon
Even though the SEC may have officially gone after Telegram, for issuing unregulated securities, that may just be an outlier. Telegram prides itself for being a privacy-focused instant messaging app. Its encryption technology has been a hotbed for criticisms and government clampdown.
Imagine a world where the US, an “aspiring Police State” with this anti–encryption data bill loses its grip on over 400 million monthly users? No access to Telegram’s messaging and is also shielded away from encrypted financial transactions of the now-defunct TON blockchain project.
Crypto Community Wakes up to Push Back
Zcoin, one of the foremost privacy coins in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry has decided to take the case up. It tweeted saying:
Zcoin’s concerns towards this anti–encryption data bill aren’t exactly farfetched if you decide to investigate further. Obviously, this is not the first attempt by the government to stem privacy freedom outside or especially within cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets space. Financial Action Task Force instilled in June 2019 an initiative popularly called the travel rule. It mandated all firms facilitating crypto transfers above $1,000 to disclose customer information.
Even though this anti–encryption data bill, on the surface combats terrorist financing and money laundering via cryptocurrencies many within the crypto space saw this as a veiled attempt at strangulating the financial anonymity crypto gives. The result was a domino effect of exchanges delisting privacy coins to comply with this new rule. Zcoin clearly sees this coming with a dark cloud of doom if it or other concerning projects within cryptocurrencies do not speak up.
Cryptography, the bedrock of Cryptocurrencies
Uncensorable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has cryptography securing its base codes. Bitcoin uses the hash function to secure its network as well as confirming transactions by network users. This encryption is called the SHA-256 encryption system.
Most privacy coins like Zcoin, Monero, Dash, etc as their core value employ encryption technology to disintermediate wallet address or public keys to financial transactions they facilitate. This definitely goes against the anti–encryption data bill
No Privacy, Paranoia Rises, Surveillance becomes Mainstay
Imagine a world without privacy? You constantly feel someone or the government is snooping on your every move without you necessarily engaging in outlawed activities. Paranoia definitely will be on the rise. Everyone deserves a right to their privacy especially when it is within the ambits of the law.
But what if Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s creator clearly influenced by the Cypherpunk movement of the ’90s had decided to create the world most valuable digital gold to fall within the control of governments? Just imagine as this anti-encryption data bill pushes, Bitcoin can be controlled would we be here discussing and championing the full adoption of cryptocurrencies today?
Komal Joshi · Oct 22, 2020 . 5min read