Today's Regulatory Mix: US Congress Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, FCC Releases Updated List of Eligible Areas for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
US Congress Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act
US Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced they introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, a bill to bolster national security interests and better protect communities across the country by ending the use of “warrant-proof” encrypted technology by terrorists and other bad actors to conceal illicit behavior. The bill would require service providers and device manufacturers to provide assistance to law enforcement when access to encrypted devices or data is necessary, but only after a court issues a warrant, based on probable cause that a crime has occurred, authorizing law enforcement to search and seize the data.
Highlights of the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act:
- Enables law enforcement to obtain lawful access to encrypted data.
- Once a warrant is obtained, the bill would require device manufacturers and service providers to assist law enforcement with accessing encrypted data if assistance would aid in the execution of the warrant.
- The bill allows the Attorney General to issue directives to service providers and device manufacturers to report on their ability to comply with court orders, including timelines for implementation. However, the Attorney General would be prohibited from issuing a directive with specific technical steps for implementing the required capabilities.
- Anyone issued a directive may appeal in federal court to change or set aside the directive ad.
- The Government would be responsible for compensating the recipient of a directive for reasonable costs incurred in complying with the directive.
- Incentivizes technical innovation.
- Directs the Attorney General to create a prize competition to award participants who create a lawful access solution in an encrypted environment, while maximizing privacy and security.
- Promotes technical and lawful access training and provides real-time assistance.
- Funds a grant program within the Justice Department’s National Domestic Communications Assistance Center (NDCAC) to increase digital evidence training for law enforcement and creates a call center for advice and assistance during investigations.
FCC Releases Updated List of Eligible Areas For Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
The FCC released a Public Notice announcing a list of 5,392,530 unserved locations deemed eligible for bidding in the $16 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction that begins October 29. The Public Notice updates a preliminary list released March 17, 2020, which was followed by a limited challenge process. The final list of eligible areas will be released no later than three weeks prior to the October 29 start date for bidding.
“We’re on track and on time with our ambitious schedule to move forward as quickly as possible to get funding out to unserved parts of America and close the digital divide,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “We’ve designed this auction with incentives for bidders to build high performance networks in areas that we know don’t have broadband service so we can bring digital opportunity to millions of rural Americans. Closing the digital divide is my top priority, and it’s even more critical now as so much of American life has moved online, from jobs to telehealth to staying in touch with families and friends. Today’s announcement provides the information companies need to prepare as we move toward the opening of the window on July 1 for bidders to file their applications to participate in the Phase I auction.”
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.