US President Barack Obama has received this week a letter signed by 37 academics, NGOs, and companies. They “respectfully request” that the White House opposes the Encryption Bill, a legislation that will “undermine security”. They ask the administration to release a statement supporting encryption.
The letter reminds that it has been 167 days since a pro-encryption petition posted on SaveCrypto.org has reached 100,000 signatures, meeting the established threshold to require an official response from the President.
“Despite a commitment to work to provide this response within 60 days, it has been more than 160 days without an answer from your office,” the letter reads.
Drafted by Senators Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Diane Feinstein (California), the Encryption Bill has been seen as “stupid” or “naive” by computer science experts and human right advocates. The documents states that companies should use weaker encryption, in order to break it in case they get a court order from state authorities.
A weaker encryption means that our devices will be vulnerable to cyber threats, the 37 companies, NGOs and academics said.
“[T]he draft legislation we’ve seen from Senators Burr and Feinstein, like legislation we’ve seen popping up in countries around the world, significantly undermines our safety and security. The president must demonstrate leadership and political maturity by making clear that the United States will work to support the strongest encryption available,” said Amie Stepanovich, U.S. Policy Manager at Access Now.
Similar legislation is being taken into consideration in the UK and Hungary.
Update, 14/04: Draft of Anti-Encryption Bill Officially Released