Proposed Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) has been Released

If passed, this is very good news for all Americans. As stated by James G. Neal, President of the American Library Association:

“No freedoms are more vital, and important to librarians, than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither. Current law that allows our government to get and view the full content of our most private electronic communications without a search warrant isn’t just outdated, it’s dangerous in a democracy. ALA strongly supports the bipartisan Leahy/Lee “ECPA Modernization Act” to finally and fully bring the Electronic Communications Privacy Act – and with it our fundamental rights to privacy, inquiry and speech – into the modern era.”

James G. Neal specifically mentions libraries, but his comments apply to all American citizens. If I might change one word in his statement, “No freedoms are more vital, and important to [all Americans], than those of inquiry and speech. Without real privacy, Americans effectively have neither.”

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National Security Shouldn’t Come at the Cost of Our Privacy and Liberty

An interesting article by by Patrick Forrest may be found on The Hill web site at It says, in part:

The inverse relationship between security and privacy is almost as immutable as the laws of physics. When one is enhanced, the other is often sacrificed. A strong democracy demands a steady balance between the two, where neither is sacrificed for the other. However, the U.S. government’s enforcement of outdated data security laws violates newly established global treaties and neglects this need for a fundamental balance between security and privacy.

Check it out at:

RSA Says You Can’t Force the Private Sector to Break Encryption

RSA’s VP and GM of Global Public Sector Practice Mike Brown believes there’s a better way to thwart terrorism than breaking end-to-end encryption, as recently proposed by the Australian government.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with Attorney-General George Brandis, announced plans last week to introduce legislation that would force internet companies to assist Australian law enforcement in decrypting messages sent with end-to-end encryption. (See my earlier article at

During a question-and-answer session, Turnbull was asked about the difficulty of using legislation in an attempt to defeat the laws of mathematics. Turnbull replied, “”I’m not a cryptographer, but what we are seeking to do is to secure their [the tech companies] assistance. They have to face up to their responsibility. They can’t just, you know, wash their hands of it and say it’s got nothing to do with them.”

Well, Turnbull obviously is “not a cryptographer.” I have to agree.

NOTE: I am a former cryptographer. These days I am simply a crypto hobbyist.

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Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull Displays Shocking Lack of Understanding of Encryption

The Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, has indicated that the laws produced in Canberra are able to trump the laws of mathematics and also will apply to all citizens of all countries worldwide. Say what?

“The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that,” he said on Friday. “The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia.”

In short, he stated that all encryption products used worldwide must have a not-so-secret “back door” that will allow Australian officials to monitor everything.

Here is an excerpt from an interview with Turnbull on July 5:

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DHS, CBP Admit They Have No Legal Authority To Access Americans’ Social Media Accounts

This is a follow-up to the earlier article of US Border Patrol Says It Won’t Search Travelers’ Cloud Data.

Since at least 2009, the DHS has asserted a legal right to copy/search the contents of anyone’s electronic devices at the border. Its privacy assessment said no one has much privacy, at least not near US borders. Building on years of judicial national security deference, the DHS has recently expanded its searches of electronic devices, eliminating most of its adherence to the Fourth Amendment in the process. If your devices wander into the country’s Constitution-free zones, you can expect to suffer diminished expectations of privacy. However, the agencies now have turned about face.
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