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*** Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, along with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) introduced legislation June 23 to prohibit device manufacturers and service providers from offering consumers end-to-end encryption that cannot be interrupted or accessed by law enforcement. The legislation is designed to require tech firms to participate in the access of encrypted data to comply with legal warrants.

The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act would also task the U.S. Justice Department with creating a competition to "create a lawful access solution in an encrypted environment, while maximizing privacy and security."

Tech companies and privacy groups have resisted calls from the Justice Department dating back to the Obama administration to require third-party access to encrypted communications.

"You cannot build a backdoor that only law enforcement can access," said Alan Butler, interim executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "That's not how encryption works."

*** The Pandemic Accountability Response Committee announced June 23 that it had launched a contract spending tracker to ensure transparency into how the $2.4 trillion from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is being spent.

The tracker allows users to see which agencies shelled out money for particular contract items such as medical equipment, personal protective gear, and technology. The tracker also allows users to see how much each state and county received in federal funding and how it was used.

According to the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the tracker will be updated weekly and cull its data from the Federal Procurement Data System.

Posted on Jun 25, 2020 at 2:24 AM


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