Re: Technology and US Constitution Illiterate
Prohibiting use of encryption entirely would have no fourth amendment impact whatever. Doing so might infringe the first amendment, but that would be an entirely different issue.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Clearly, a smart phone or computer can be thought of as an "effect" en this context, but the real content of this is that the government is prohibited from a range of activity -"unreasonable searches and seizures" - unless it follows procedures that were fairly well defined in the English common law long before it was adopted nearly entire by the US and have been refined and updated with some frequency in the succeeding 2+ centuries. Those protections exist as much for unencrypted or otherwise unsecured phones and computers as they do for those that are well secured.
A secured device will offer better protection against inadvertent or intentional government violation of civil rights, or undesired, unauthorized, and often illegal access by non-government entities. However, US governments have been able to gain authorization, with proper justification, obtained in the correct way, to search and seize as described in properly issued warrants. Under the US Constitution they have been able to do so for the last 225 years. Encryption does not change that except potentially to render the results of the search or seizure unusable, and that is properly a matter of concern for officials charged with enforcing the laws and prosecuting those who violate them.
I guess that Senator McCain and the others on the Armed Services Committee understand the Constitution reasonably well, although their understanding may be more in line with the actual provisions and jurisprudence than that of some others.