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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Bill That Would End Private Messaging

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The Senate Judiciary Committee voted for the third time to advance the controversial EARN IT Act to the floor. The bill would require online platforms to scan messages and other content for harmful or illegal material, essentially banning end-to-end encryption and ending privacy for law-abiding Americans.

Watch our video on it here.

The bill will soon be put to a vote in the Senate.

Following pushback, the sponsors of the EARN IT Act added language that appears to protect encryption. However, the language still allows for “client-side scanning,” which violates privacy by sending data from users’ devices to law-enforcement before the message is encrypted.

Some senators have raised concerns about the bill.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) raised concerns about the client-side scanning loophole and even provided the bill’s sponsors with suggestions. However, his suggestions were not debated or adopted by the Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) argued that the bill would have a negative impact on the security of vulnerable people and reminded lawmakers that they should be promoting cybersecurity instead of weakening it.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) requested to enter into record a letter by a coalition of over 130 activist organizations opposing the bill.

There appears to be just enough bipartisan pushback against the bill that it may not pass.

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