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

in Deep Dives4 years ago (edited)



The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), has reported that a new bill called EARN IT, has been introduced into congress by Lindsey Graham and Sidney Blumenthal, which threatens to ban encryption, and gives government and law enforcement agencies legal access to all messages and the right to scan every message online - for your protection, obviously!


Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate.

That’s what the Senate Judiciary Committee has proposed and hopes to pass into law. The so-called EARN IT bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), will strip Section 230 protections away from any website that doesn’t follow a list of “best practices,” meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy. The “best practices” list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption, and guarantee law enforcement “legal access” to any digital message.

The EARN IT bill had its first hearing today, and its supporters’ strategy is clear. Because they didn’t put the word “encryption” in the bill, they’re going to insist it doesn’t affect encryption.

“This bill says nothing about encryption,” co-sponsor Sen. Blumenthal said at today’s hearing. “Have you found a word in this bill about encryption?” he asked one witness.

It’s true that the bill’s authors avoided using that word. But they did propose legislation that enables an all-out assault on encryption. It would create a 19-person commission that’s completely controlled by the Attorney General and law enforcement agencies. And, at the hearing, a Vice-President at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) made it clear [PDF] what he wants the best practices to be. NCMEC believes online services should be made to screen their messages for material that NCMEC considers abusive; use screening technology approved by NCMEC and law enforcement; report what they find in the messages to NCMEC; and be held legally responsible for the content of messages sent by others.

You can’t have an Internet where messages are screened en masse, and also have end-to-end encryption any more than you can create backdoors that can only be used by the good guys. The two are mutually exclusive. Concepts like “client-side scanning” aren’t a clever route around this; such scanning is just another way to break end-to-end encryption. Either the message remains private to everyone but its recipients, or it’s available to others.

The 19-person draft commission isn’t any better than the 15-person commission envisioned in an early draft of the bill. It’s completely dominated by law enforcement and allied groups like NCMEC. Not only will those groups have a majority of votes on the commission, but the bill gives Attorney General Barr the power to veto or approve the list of best practices. Even if other commission members do disagree with law enforcement, Barr’s veto power will put him in a position to strongarm them.

The Commission won’t be a body that seriously considers policy; it will be a vehicle for creating a law enforcement wish list. Barr has made clear, over and over again, that breaking encryption is at the top of that wish list. Once it’s broken, authoritarian regimes around the world will rejoice, as they have the ability to add their own types of mandatory scanning, not just for child sexual abuse material but for self-expression that those governments want to suppress.

The privacy and security of all users will suffer if U.S. law enforcement is able to achieve its dream of breaking encryption. Senators should reject the EARN IT bill.


This obviously has huge implications on civil liberties and the potential to severely restrict speech online, and internet freedoms in general. I believe that this is directly aimed at dissenting voices in the independent media, and thus giving more control of the general narrative into the hands of the large media conglomerates, in the online space.

This is the latest version of previous bills SOPA and PIPA, that were attempted to be passed through congress, on similar principles - but were eventually defeated with a huge online campaign. The EFF has now launched a new campaign to defeat this bill as it was previously able to do successfully! You can join the new campaign here.

Here is a clip from independent journalist Ryan Christian of the The Last American Vagabond, explaining in some more detail, what this current bill entails.



As always, have a great day and PEACE



I wonder what will happen to things like the HIVE take hold.
How will they try to stop that?

I have a feeling that it will get defeated again. There are too many people that would be against this:) See you at the hive!

This is a critical issue that needs more attention!
COVID19 and the current panic has almost completely overshadowed everything else.
I imagine this is only the beginning of more "Patriot Act" type laws that authorities will attempt to ram through as the population is disorientated.

See you on the other side, in Hive!

Absolutely. Yes to all of the above! The contrarian in me, really needed to get this one out. I mean shit, they never give up with trying to get this bill through under different names, and people definitely need to be aware of it!

It's going to be some crazy times ahead. Apparently article 5 has been invoked for only the second time, after 9-11 (heard it on Ryan's awesome podcast today), so the circus is in town again.

I'm really looking forward to the other side:) Let's go and stir that honey pot! Thanks again!

Lindsey Graham and Sidney Blumenthal, der Adolf wurde stolz sein aud die jungs.

...As long as we do not ban it in Europe this would be ok?

Good question. But as we know, quite a few countries will follow if it gets through!

uhm China would LOOOOVE it.

all those western backdoors, just imagine all the tech they can copy

Federal governments try this crap every election cycle. I take it with a grain of salt considering the powers spies have already and how inept most government employees are.

look I wink with my left (sinistra) eye

Yes that's true that it happens every election cycle. It only need to get through once though, and then it would be almost impossible to get it reversed. I guess that's why they keep trying!

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