Crypto insiders are wary that an anti-encryption bill that is flying under the radar may have a negative impact on Bitcoin and crypto.
Last week, US Representatives Sylvia Garcia and Ann Wagner introduced the House version of the bipartisan Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act whose Senate counterpart of the same name has already been passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The EARN IT Act seeks to strengthen government authority to combat the sexual exploitation of children online. In doing so, the bill would form a commission to determine the best practices regarding online child exploitation prevention and amend the Communications Decency Act (CDA).
The House and Senate’s proposed amendments to Section 230 of the CDA would seriously alter liability standards for service providers such as content platforms who are currently not considered responsible for content published by their users as long as providers also meet the standards set by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The proposition to increase the liability of service providers has implications for larger platforms such as Facebook and Google, but it also has crypto users contemplating the fate of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin.
In a post on his YouTube page, Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos addresses the ways in which the legislation could affect BTC and the cryptocurrency space.
According to Antonopoulos, the EARN IT Act “drive[s] a Trojan Horse right through the DMCA.”
“If companies use end-to-end encrypted systems that do not have backdoors for law enforcement, they no longer are protected from liability for things posted by their users…
And what is the impact it’s going to have on Bitcoin? Well, I think one of the impacts it’s going to have is that companies that engage in transactions that offer zero-knowledge transactions may be affected by this because they will not be able to shield themselves from the liability of users transmitting transactions on their platforms if they do not have backdoors for law enforcement.”
Essentially, Antonopolous claims that these third-party centralized platforms that facilitate transactions could stand to lose a lot from this bill. However, he believes the legislation could favor decentralized platforms.
“If a company is centralized and controls transactions on behalf of its users then it may be liable, which will arguably encourage more decentralization. So if a company has no control over its users’ transactions then this doesn’t really apply… In the long term, undermining end-to-end encryption and undermining these freedoms that we consider necessary to encourage free speech and expression and encourage the growth of independent media and platforms, undermining those really pushes the need for decentralized platforms.”