Washington — Representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) introduced the ENCRYPT Act of 2016 today. The bill would prevent states from mandating or requesting weakened encryption, backdoors, or decryption from manufacturers and providers of consumer Internet devices and services.
In the last year, law enforcement and intelligence community officials have sparked another debate over the widespread availability of strong encryption in consumer devices and digital services. They are concerned with “Going Dark”—that the proliferation of such technology has and will hamper their ability to access content and communications for investigatory purposes.
The national debate on encryption has resulted in a number of legislative proposals in states including New York and California that attempt to ban the sale and operation of devices and services that cannot be accessed by law enforcement due to strong encryption.
The ENCRYPT Act would preempt that growing range of requirements at the state level, and is a strong statement from Congress that robust encryption is not something that should be eroded state by state. A nationwide patchwork of varying mandates for digital devices and services is anathema to the quintessentially borderless nature of the Internet. For that reason, we support the ENCRYPT Act.
CCIA’s views on encryption are simple: mandating backdoors or otherwise weakened implementations of encryption in secure digital services and devices are infeasible solutions in search of a problem, and will ultimately do more harm to economic and homeland security than good. Encryption is vital to the continued growth of the Internet as a vibrant platform for expression and commerce, views that are shared by a broad range of technologists, civil liberties advocates, and national security experts.