back to article Read America's insane draft crypto-borking law that no one's willing to admit they wrote

A draft copy of a US law to criminalize strong encryption, thought to be authored by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), has been leaked online. And the internet is losing its shit. "We're still working on finalizing a discussion draft and as a result can't comment on language in specific versions of the …

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  1. JLV Silver badge

    oxymoron

    [ok-si-mawr-on, -mohr-] ‎

    Word Origin

    noun, plural oxymora  [ok-si-mawr-uh, -mohr-uh] (Show IPA),oxymorons. Rhetoric.

    1.

    a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in "Senate Intelligence"‎

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You believe that people actually think there is ANY intelligence in the US Senate, or the other place as well. If there is they definitely don't show it, but then isn't that a requirement for a politician?

      1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

        Ron Wyden?

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Requirements for US Political Office

        The only one seems to be that you are a Lawyer and as such totally divorced from the real world.

        How many senators/congress critters are not lawyers or don't have a degree in Law?

        1) go to Law School

        2) Join top law firm

        or

        2) Become and ADA

        3) Become partner in Law Firm or get elected DA

        4) Run for political office (even if you are a complete idiot as most are)

        4a) Get lots of $$$$$$ from vested interests to fund your election campaign

        5) get elected and start paying back the people who paid for you to get into office.

        Rinse and repeat 4) & 5) until they carry you out in a box.

        1. Joe Gurman

          Re: Requirements for US Political Office

          Actually, thanks to the Teabaggers =, there are lots of people with business, and not legal, backgrounds in the US House of Representatives, at least. One could argue that having Senators and Representatives with at least a law degree (regardless of whether they have practiced law) is helpful in, you know, writing laws.

          This draft legislation was written by Intelligence Committee staff members, also lawyers, not the named Senators nor any other members Congress. I'd be willing to bet a stack of iPhones none of the staff lawyers has a clue as to how encryption works or what you lose if you weaken it.

          1. Red Bren

            @Joe Gurman - Re: Requirements for US Political Office

            "One could argue that having Senators and Representatives with at least a law degree (regardless of whether they have practiced law) is helpful in, you know, writing laws."

            So what is the point of the Judicial branch of the US government, if not to help the Legislative branch to write sensible, constitutional laws?

            One could also argue that having a Legislative branch that's excessively populated by people with strong links to the legal profession, will result in laws that will benefit, and can only be interpreted (for a lucrative fee) by the legal profession.

            1. veti Silver badge

              @Joe Gurman - Requirements for US Political Office

              "One could argue that having Senators and Representatives with at least a law degree (regardless of whether they have practiced law) is helpful in, you know, writing laws."

              One *could* argue that. But it's a bit like arguing that "having Senators and Representatives with criminal records would be helpful in writing laws".

              A decent law student can argue *anything*. Doesn't mean it's a good idea. In fact, it's the worst ideas that tend to get the best advocates, because everyone likes a challenge.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You believe that people actually think there is ANY intelligence in the US Senate, or the other place as well.

        I certainly do believe there is a lot of intelligence in both houses. Unfortunately that intelligence is almost exclusively deployed in serving the political and financial elite, at the expense of Main Street. That's why Wall Street got bailed out, is now making mega bucks again, the rich are getting richer, but the ordinary people of the US see a flat-lining economy. Your job just got offshored? Too bad, but look at the bonus the execs get. Your privacy just got cancelled, never mind, the TLAs are happy with more power and bigger budgets.

        And so it goes on. Whilst the population vote for the donkey & elephant circus, they vote for the establishment, for the mega rich. Only when you start voting in non-establishment parties who don't represent the elite will this change.

      4. ABehrens

        Congressman Ted Lieu has a degree in computer science from Stanford. He certainly would understand the utter stupidity of this bill.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumb and dumber

    With allies like these two, who needs enemies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dumb and dumber

      And they represent both sides of the aisle! Truly bi-partisan stupidity.

      That's what America is all about!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dumb and dumber

        When two ideologues of supposed opposite extreme views cooperate, and you don't get extreme/2, but extreme^2, it's because, despite the superficial color differences, they actually are of the same species.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Dumb and dumber

      Maybe they're sending up a trial balloon to see who shoots at it while May, et al, watch and see if it might work for you in Blighty. There's too much back and forth across the pond similarity anymore. Once one of us passes something like this, the other will too.

      1. Roo
        Windows

        Re: Dumb and dumber

        "There's too much back and forth across the pond similarity anymore. Once one of us passes something like this, the other will too."

        That process has rendered voting pretty much pointless for the citizens of blighty. It would be nice if our MPs didn't try and pretend otherwise, because they could devote more effort to work on the issues that they can do something about.

  3. Herby Silver badge

    All your base belong to US

    The US is (unfortunately I live here) The United States.

    Query: Please tell me the secret?

    Question: Can you keep a secret??

    Response: Yes.

    Statement: So can I (so I won't tell you)

    Sometimes you need to be a real BOFH about this stuff.

    Perhaps we should inquire the Senator's email, and ask if it is encrypted? Does Ms. Feinstein have something to hide??

    Yes, she is (unfortunately) my Senator (groan).

  4. Grade%
    Pint

    Um, doesn't this blow a hole

    ah, into the future of American software companies potential product offerings? I mean, if this gets passed then silicon valley goes up in a poof of facepalming and automagically appears in a country where they are allowed to create products immune to third party poking. So, um, Germany? Wow. The Ruhr valley gets my vote.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

      I would think Iceland or Norway. Both have outstanding rights records when it comes to privacy, not part of the EU, and both have a surplus of electrical generating capacity. Norway currently needs a bit of an economic boost now that a large sector of their economy (oil production) has gone down the drain, so I'd figure that they could give out some pretty healthy tax breaks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

        Well, quite. Anyone remember how difficult it was to get an uncrippled version of PGP outside the USA, when it's export was banned? Not difficult at all. And if these morons think that strong cryptography can only be developed in the USA, perhaps they should remember that the inventors of Rijndael, the winner of the AES selection process, were Belgian. Maths isn't the sole preserve of any one nation.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

          Well, quite. Anyone remember how difficult it was to get an uncrippled version of PGP outside the USA, when it's export was banned?

          Having been part of the OCR proofreading effort (OCR was pretty poor in those days) of the printed source code I can answer with resounding yes I remember all too well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

        Can move the hosting to the arctic circle datacenter when it's finished.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

      Switzerland and Ireland are other possibilities.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

        Estonia - educated workforce, the whole e-residency thing, and if you're a security vendor the neighbours have a track record of testing things ...

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

        "Switzerland and Ireland are other possibilities."

        I can't see the Californians tolerating either the anal retentiveness of one or the weather of the other. Though "Silicon Jura" doesn't sound too bad.

    3. PassiveSmoking

      Re: Um, doesn't this blow a hole

      Absolutely it would, why else do you think normally implacable enemies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are banding together to fight this collectively?

  5. storner
    FAIL

    Well, what did you expect -

    from the Senate INTELLIGENCE Committee.

    Sheesh...

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Well, what did you expect -

      "from the Senate INTELLIGENCE Committee."

      Um, exactly this?

      The Good Morons™ in the Senate and House only form committees for things they're trying to control or eliminate.

  6. fnj

    Failure to measure up

    1) It goes against my instinct of the truth, but I am willing to grant well meaning motivation to these two individuals.

    2) We are entitled to expect more than meaning well from our elected leaders. We are entitled to expect them to inform themselves of the issues on which they legislate, and we are entitled to expect them to respect the Constitution, human rights and dignity, and the sovereignty of the People.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Failure to measure up

      grant well meaning motivation to these two individuals

      ${preferred:socialistic_dictator_from_history_books} also had well-meaning motivation -- it just didn't fully match other people's continued well-being.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Failure to measure up

      "I am willing to grant well meaning motivation to these two individuals."

      I'm not.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Failure to measure up

      "It goes against my instinct of the truth, but I am willing to grant well meaning motivation to these two individuals."

      Why? They have the power and money to bring in advisor who actually know what the implications are and yet they either didn't bring them in or didn't listen to them. Or, as is more likely, they brought in only advisers who were paid to come up with the "right" answers.

  7. channel extended
    Happy

    Stealing IT

    Maybe the CIA stole the documents from the Chinese and these two think a police state is a good thing? That might be why they support such idiocy.

    My other theory is 'Clowns gotta be clowns!!!!!!!'

  8. Michael Sanders

    Senators with Disabilities Act

    Or Gift to the People's Republic of China...

    A backdoor in every piece of secure software... So you could just shut down most of Homeland security at that point. As 6-hours after the first crippled security software is installed I'll be able to Google how to get into everything.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Senators with Disabilities Act

      On the bright side- 10 minutes after banking encryption is outlawed, all IT people have a chance to get very, very rich indeed!

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Senators with Disabilities Act

        And simultaneously poorer - works both ways.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Senators with Disabilities Act

      Certainly a gift to Chinese manufacturers.

      When this law is introduced all the other countries will demand access to the backdoor.

      So all US built equipment will be compromised.

      So the only place that US police, security services, military and politicians will be able to source communications gear from is outside the USA - ie China.

  9. PaulAb

    Full Moon?

    Surely these people are the lunatics of the Early 1960's Hammer house of horror films. Do they actually understand that once they do this, every attractive system in the world will be the focus of attention of criminals and rogue states, once cracked it will be the gateway to everything that operates our world.

    These people prove decisively that if you are a complete moron it should not hinder your advancement in government.

    1. moiety

      Re: Full Moon?

      Not every attractive system in the world...just the ones with US software on. And there wouldn't be many of those outside the US in a very short space of time.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "No one is above the law"

    Except us.

    Until the leaks occur (the ones that are not engineered by us, that is)

    Then it's a "temporary misjudgement" that demands "understanding" (and anyway, look at Kardashian's arse and we are fighting Russians in lower bumfuckistan, a country of strategic importance to Oceania, and the economic crisis will be over soon, we are reaching escape velocity tomorrow)

    But the leaker will get it.

    Because, well, no-one is above the law.

    1. ma1010 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: "No one is above the law"

      What do you mean fighting Russians? We are at war with Eastasia. Oceania has ALWAYS been at war with Eastasia.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: "No one is above the law"

        Sorry, I misspoke.

        Hold on, there is a reeducation van holding in front of my house. That's weird. Be right back.

    2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: "lower bumfuckistan"

      Have an up-vote for that alone!

  11. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Joke

    Political qualifications

    If you have half a mind to run for political office in the US then that's all you need.

    Ignore this - they are just spinning for votes in November, as has been proved in the past - you can legislate all you like but it's not like the rest of the world will listen to you.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Political qualifications

      > it's not like the rest of the world will listen to you.

      If only that were true.

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Political qualifications - Ignore this - they are just spinning for votes in November

      Feinstein "represents" California, doesn't she? I wouldn't have thought that was much of a vote winner there.

  12. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    If Stupidity Were a Crime

    These two dim bulbs are trying to make stupidity worthy of the death penalty for treason against the humanity.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: If Stupidity Were a Crime

      don't worry, a bill legislating that pi is equal to exactly 3 is in the pipeline, no one has the time for all this .1415... rubbish!

  13. Christoph Silver badge
    Facepalm

    require anyone who makes or programs a communications product in the US to provide law enforcement with any data they request in an "intelligible format,"

    They had better rephrase that, it reads as that they must break any encryption which the user has applied to the message before sending it.

    So if I encrypt a message with a one-time-pad created with a true random number generator, then I send the message and I destroy the pad, they must break that encryption. Good luck with that!

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Happy

      If that souns like too much work

      Just send the random numbers (any source of physical random noise will provide that, like thermal noise in a webcam), and let them decrypt that.

      Sit back and have some popcorn

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If that souns like too much work

        "Just send the random numbers (any source of physical random noise will provide that, like thermal noise in a webcam), and let them decrypt that."

        They can then claim to have decrypted it - and prosecute you for whatever they say they found. Their decryption methods will not be revealed - as that would "compromise national security".

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      The UK's equivalent law requires you to reveal any hidden message in any text.

      So you are screwed if you have a copy of Finegans Wake

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