The EARN IT Bill Is the Government’s Plan to Scan Every Message Online

I figure there are probably a lot of people here who are concerned about this kind of thing so I wanted to post this article here to raise awareness. It’s worth noting that this is a US bill.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/03/earn-it-bill-governments-not-so-secret-plan-scan-every-message-online

Here’s a summary by /u/ThePatriotGames:
EARN IT, a bipartisan bill, would effectively ban or create a “back door” to all encrypted services. The US government is looking to be able to scan every message people send, which is a tool which can be used to suppress the masses.

For those that want to take action, you can go to this link to get your local reps contact info: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

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you should ad a TLDR

I think the title does a good job, but I added a summary by someone else.

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Thanks for spreading the word and I hope the tldr gets more people to read the article. Now that I had more time I went and read the article. This is not something anyone should want IMO. Based on the papers Snowden released it seems like the government already does this. They just want a easier way to do it and not seem as shady (for lack of a better term) while doing it.

So what’s new here? The government already reads all online messages. They just want to make it official and easier for themselves.

Ever since I’ve been on the internet, I’ve always considered any data I send out to be as good as public. There is no privacy on the internet, period.

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Ya, what I’m posting right now for sure is getting scanned for keywords, but what this bill also does is force companies like WhatsApp and Apple to no longer offer end-to-end encryption which the government can’t read. Honestly, I wouldn’t trust WhatsApp anyway, but Apple has been serious about their iMessage encryption and this bill would end that.

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So the choice is being tracked by Big Data alone, or by Big Data and the various nefarious governmental agencies as well? Talk about a choice…

Anyway, it don’t matter: today, all the government has to do is serve Apple with a national security letter, and they’ll roll over and spill the beans on you faster than you can say “Is it 1984 yet?”. The EARN IT Bill would just remove that step whereby they pretend to ask for your data lawfully. Like I said, it’d just make the government’s life easier.

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It still matters. A lot. It’s more civil liberties being snatched away. This is especially alarming for sex workers, whom many of my friends are, who are already being wiped off platforms left, right and centre. And then there’s journalists, confidential sources, etc. The list goes on.

This is another bill that claims it’s all in the name of “ending human trafficking” but, like SESTA/FOSTA, it’s going to harm everyone else while doing absolute fuck all for human trafficking.

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

Exactly if a law like this was in place then Edward Snowden would have never been able to communicate with the journalists who told his story. It’s a never ending fight, and I know it’s exhausting, but we have to keep fighting.

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Yeah? And how did that work out for him? Or for us for that matter? Sure he got his story out. Now he’s a fugitive, and after the minor scandal the leak created, nothing has changed whatsoever.

It’s too late. Too many people have internalized ubiquitous surveillance and unconstitutional processes as the new normal. Nobody reacts to anything anymore. Daniel Ellsberg hasn’t gone to his grave yet, but he’s already started spinning…

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How would a bill like this effect things like PGP can people working on open source projects get in trouble theoretically?

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Although encryption isn’t necessary on public chats, it is important on private chats. Like Apple was doing seriously with encryption of messages. Which means this bill will end that.

Just gonna leave this here, funny story from Adam Savage about a time he had a call from the FBI.

Thermal Detonator. The story is about 16 minutes in.

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That was awesome, thanks for sharing! … I’d be panting afterwards too!

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This bill only applies to websites and apps and such. For example, iMessage, Whatsapp, Proton Mail, and the like can no longer end-to-end encryption. However, if you wanted to encrypt your messages on your own and copy them into an email then you could. It’s still a first step to outlawing PGP though.

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So currently it only impacts commercial service owners and there users, not the underlying encryption tech? I wonder what they will do about TOR, its decentralized and open source…

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Just for my clarification and please Excuse my naivety here, and I don’t know where the following are based out of, but let’s assume none of them are USA based ( Just ones I can think of, off the top of my head )
Wickr, Signal, Red Phone, Viber Encrypted, Onion
Couldn’t you just use one of those??? or any other of the many options?

Surely nobody has ever trusted Whatsapp anyway

I am not having a go, I genuinely don’t know

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The issue for non USA based companies would come in if they start taking a hard stance on allowing US companies to interact with the ones that are external. For example proton mail would not be able to be my main email client if no us based companies can email them.

  • I do not know much about US law so not sure if that is feasible just my naive guess
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I remember when I told all my friends they should use Signal. I got one person to try it for a couple days. Maybe that kind of thing is different in this more tech savy community, but the point stands that most of the world uses iMessage and Whatsapp and they aren’t going to switch. It was honestly super awesome when Apple was telling the FBI to F off when they wanted to unlock that shooter’s phone. Now of course I don’t trust Apple personally, but normal people deserve the right to privacy too and they’re about to lose that. If we don’t stop that now, we’re next.

Exactly, doesn’t matter what tax haven you store you’re money in, if you’re handling any sort of messaging client and a US citizen can use it then you’re subject to this law. If the US government doesn’t have the right to fine you, then they will use sanctions instead.

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