Elizabeth Warren’s New Financial Surveillance Bill Is a Disaster for Privacy and Civil Liberties

US Senators Demand Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX Execs Be Held Accountable to 'Fullest Extent of the Law’

In introducing the bill, Sen. Warren used the refrain that privacy-enhancing technology facilitates crime. This is wrong, and it’s exactly the line of reasoning we hear from critics of end-to-end encryption and Tor (which enables anonymous web browsing). That a technology could be used to violate the law does not mean that there is something wrong with that technology. Criminals have long used cash to commit crimes, but we don’t call for a ban on cash as a result. For the same reason, we don’t call for a ban on cars, even though they can be used as getaway vehicles. In the 1980s, studios tried to make VCRs illegal because they could be used for copyright infringement – and they almost succeeded. Like cars and VCRs, privacy-enhancing technologies serve an important purpose and should not be banned merely because they could be misused.

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