FREE SPEECH: Congress could vote this week to undermine encryption and force reporting of protected speech to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Aimed at reducing illegal drug sales online, the Cooper Davis Act (S.1080) penalizes messaging services, social media companies, and cloud storage providers if they don’t turn over communications about drug use to the DEA. 

The Cooper Davis Act could impose hefty financial penalties on tech companies that provide encrypted services. A dangerous provision in the bill holds providers liable if they “deliberately blind” themselves to the contents of communications, which is exactly what encryption does. Journalists, protesters, and anyone who doesn’t want tech companies rifling through their communications routinely rely on encrypted channels. The Cooper Davis Act would jeopardize that cornerstone of digital privacy, just so tech companies can be spies for the DEA.


There’s also a free speech problem in the bill. Sure, sometimes people are buying illegal drugs online. But the Cooper Davis Act incentivizes overreporting. The likely result is that all speech relating to drugs, including discussion of past drug use, addiction treatment, and harm reduction strategies could be swept up and reported to the DEA without any warrant or notice requirement. Ironically, the bill could have the effect of increasing the number of fentanyl deaths by incentivizing tech companies to report speech pertaining to drug testing and treatment. 

The Cooper Davis Act must not be passed. Tell Congress to not sell out digital privacy for DEA snitching!


Stay loud, stay strong,  


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