Senate Republicans have introduced a new bill that seeks to weaken encryption on smartphones and other devices. Allowing law enforcement to easily crack the encryption to get evidence on a suspect.
The bill is known as the "Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act" and it calls for an end to "warrant-proof" encryption that has disrupted criminal investigations.
To no surprise, Senator Lindsey Graham was the one to introduce the bill. Alongside Senators Tom Cotton and Marsha Blackburn.
What would it mean, if this bill passed?
If the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act were to pass, it would require tech companies to help investigators access encrypted data, if that assistance would help carry out a warrant.
The good thing here is that companies like Google and Apple won't have to help law enforcement crack the device just because they want in. It has to help carry out a warrant.
Lawful Access seems to be something that would likely pass through Congress, even with support of the Democrats. As it's something that can help keep the country safe.
Lawmakers have long battled with tech companies over encryption
This battle over encryption is nothing new. Lawmakers and the Justice Department have long battled with tech companies over it. The Justice Department has argued that encryption prevents investigators from getting evidence from suspects' devices. It has also requested that tech companies provide "lawful access" to these devices.
This does bring back a lot of memories from the request that the FBI made to Apple in 2016. After the shooting in San Bernardino, California. The FBI wanted access to the dead suspects' iPhone, but because it was encrypted, the FBI had to get help from Apple. But Apple would not help them crack the device, as Apple felt that would open another can of worms that they didn't want to deal with.
End-to-end encryption is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can protects billions of people from hackers, oppressive governments and abusive romantic partners. As it provides security measures that even companies themselves aren't able to get into. But it also makes it tough for the authorities to get in and get information to stop dangerous things from happening in the future. And finding out why someone did what they did.
The bill has only been introduced, so there's still a long way to go, before it becomes the law. And that may not even happen. But expect a fight in Congress over this one.