Rep. Eshoo & Sen. Wyden Call on Attorney General to Stop Requests to Weaken Encryption

October 31, 2019
Press Release

Backdoors threaten Americans’ security

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Representative Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Senator Ron Wyden (Ore.) sent a letter to Attorney General William P. Barr urging him to immediately cease requests for government backdoors and discouraging encryption online.

“Your proposal will not meaningfully address the problem of [child sexual abuse imagery], because illegal content will simply move to the dark web and to foreign commercial providers that are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement, while exposing millions of law-abiding Americans to new cybersecurity threats from stalkers, hackers and other criminals,” Eshoo and Wyden wrote to the Attorney General. “We urge you to stop demanding that private companies purposefully weaken their encryption for the false pretense of protecting children.”

On October 4th, Attorney General Barr requested Facebook not proceed with its plan to upgrade the security of its Messenger and Instagram messaging services with end-to-end encryption, a continuation of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) repeated demands for technological backdoors and weaker encryption. The DOJ asserts backdoors will aide investigations, but overlooks how weakened encryption fundamentally undermines the privacy and security of every American. Over 100 civil society organizations urged Facebook, to resist the DOJ’s demands. On October 29th, the head of WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, reasserted that the company will oppose calls to weaken encryption.

To read Rep. Eshoo and Sen. Wyden’s letter, click HERE.