Written by South Carolina Republican senator Lindsey Graham and Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal and introduced in the Senate last month, the EARN IT Act claims to be a vehicle for improving how digital platforms reduce sexual exploitation and abuse of children online.
But the law would really create leverage for the government to ask that tech companies undermine their encryption schemes to enable law enforcement access.
Already the end-to-end encrypted messaging app Signal, which is respected and trusted for its transparent, open source design, says that it will be one of the immediate casualties should the law pass Congress.
Signal developer Joshua Lund said in a blog post that Signal would face insurmountable financial burdens because of the law and would therefore be forced to leave the US market rather than undermine its encryption to stay.
Given that Signal is recommended and used across the Department of Defense, Congress, and other parts of the US government, this would be a problematic outcome for everyone.