New legislation would require companies to bypass encryption

Three Republican senators have introduced legislation that would require smartphone-makers and other tech companies to give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications or devices if ordered to do so by a court.

The controversial new Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, introduced in June by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, is intended to help police investigate terrorism, money laundering, child pornography, and other crimes. The sponsors argue that criminals often use encryption to hide their illegal activities from investigators.

“Terrorists and criminals routinely use technology, whether smartphones, apps, or other means, to coordinate and communicate their
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