We all have the right to have private conversations. They’re vital for free and informed self-government. When we want to have private conversations online, encryption makes it possible. Yet Congress is debating, for a third time, the EARN IT Act (S. 1207)—a bill that would threaten encryption, and instead seek to impose universal scanning of our messages, photos, and files.
The EARN IT Act invites all 50 states to regulate internet services, hoping state legislatures will follow a set of “best practices” set by a federal commission stacked with law enforcement agencies. The bill’s supporters want to wipe true end-to-end encryption from the internet, and replace it with scanning software that puts us all in a permanent criminal lineup.