FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How to Kill America’s Tech Economy in One Lesson

US Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are at it again. They’ve released a “discussion draft” of their “bill to require the provision of data in an intelligible format pursuant to a court order. … if such data has been made unintelligible by a feature, product, or service owned, controlled, created, or provided, by the covered entity or by a third party on behalf of the covered entity.”

In plain English: American tech companies would be legally required to only build encryption technology into their products that they could break pursuant to government demands.

There’s been plenty of ink spilled on why this bill is a terrible idea from a privacy standpoint. To put it succinctly, if a type of encryption can be broken, there’s no way to limit to WHO can break it or for what purposes. So even if you trust the US government — and you shouldn’t — the requirements of this bill would also leave you vulnerable to foreign governments, identity thieves and other financially driven cyber-criminals.

Except that no, it really wouldn’t. The strong crypto genie has been out of the bottle for a couple of decades now. Anyone who really wants encryption can get it now and will still be able to get it if the Burr/Feinstein abomination becomes law. That includes “the bad guys” (terrorists and criminals) and it includes you. The only people affected by this law to a level greater than minor inconvenience will be those who just don’t bother.

Except that no, we’ll all be affected, because this bill is custom-made to destroy the US tech industry … and if Silicon Valley sneezes we’re all going to catch a cold.

Yes, America is the prime combination of large and wealthy as a consumer technology market. There are 320 million of us and we’re all rich by comparison to, say, the average resident of Benin City or Budapest or Beijing.

But the seven billion people in those other places do buy computers and smart phones and software. If this bill passes they will continue to buy computers and smart phones and software. They’ll just buy those things from companies that aren’t headquartered in the US or bound by the ignorance and arrogance of the likes of Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein. Why? Because they don’t want Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein reading their mail.

If you’re surprised that Burr and Feinstein would willingly tank the US economy, sending millions of jobs and billions of dollars offshore just to aggrandize their desire for power, you shouldn’t be. That’s what politicians do. Nothing’s more important to a politician than believing he or she is in control. Even if that belief is, as in this case, false.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail