A huge blow has been dealt to privacy advocates has been achieved in the US House of Representatives earlier today. After blocking an amendment that would prevent government officials from enforcing security backdoors and weakened encryption, it looks like privacy is not on the agenda for US politicians. The recent shooting in Orlando forced their hand, apparently.
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Third time’s the charm for the government plans of enforcing backdoors and weakened encryption. After the proposal was shut down twice – in 2014 and 2015 – it looks like this third attempt was the right one. The amendment in question was part of the 2017 defense appropriations bill and passed through the US House of Representatives.
According to Engadget, the US government decided to use last Sunday’s Orlando shooting to justify their own agendas. Law enforcement agencies will gain increasing spying powers and even easier access to consumer’s private data. For privacy advocates, this is as bad as news can yet.
Especially the level of communication used by consumers has been the thorn in the side of US law enforcement. Since most of these platforms now use end-to-end encryption, it has become all but impossible for the FBI to obtain specific conversation details in a legal manner. Either they would have to resort to illegal means, or go through the legal system to get what they want.
It is evident for everyone to see certain US politicians used the horrible shooting in Orlando as a way to take advantage of a situation. Unfortunately, they succeeded in pulling the right heart strings of their colleagues as well. Now that this amendment has passed, it remains to be seen when these changes will go into effect, and what the impact will be.
That being said, this approved amendment could backfire as well. Although the primary purpose of this amendment would be to acquire more information on consumers, companies will be hesitant to collaborate with law enforcement agencies from now on. Moreover, if the FBI and NSA would force them to build backdoors, companies may leave the US in droves. This decision could have a significant impact on the US economy moving forward.
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