While the Apple vs FBI case might be over, the aftermath is still lingering, and there's a new, potentially misguided, bill being put before the Senate that looks to effectively neuter encryption. Unsurprisingly, some of the biggest tech companies are unhappy, and with a number of coalitions that represent tech firms have penned an open letter to the bill's sponsors, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Burr (R-NC). The letter itself is available to read in full online, but much of it reads as one might expect it to; that such a bill would lead to consequences beyond the "good-natured" ideals of its sponsors.
The letter was penned by four coalitions that represent the likes of Dropbox and Netflix including Reform Government Surveillance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, and the Entertainment Software Association. Big tech names like Apple, Google and Microsoft have also joined the letter, and they go on to warn that the bill would "force companies to prioritize government access over other considerations, including digital security". The bill's sponsors have said time and time again that "no entity or individual is above the law" and while the bill's intention appears to be able to give US Law Enforcement the means to acquire decrypted info that might be necessary to an investigation, the open letter shows tech companies aren't convinced.
Throughout talk surrounding the San Bernardino's iPhone case the word "precedent" was used countless times, and this open letter echoes that by saying "once it is required by the US, other Governments will surely follow". The fear is that the US Government could be on the verge of setting a dangerous precedent that could further fuel already-existing surveillance and outdated views on encryption across the globe. It's undeniable that Governments around the world will be paying close attention to how the bill fares in the Senate, but as one Senator vows to Filibuster the bill and reaction to it throughout the Senate goes ever-stronger, there's a chance the bill won't even get that far in the long-run. Those looking to read the full letter can do so here.