Surveillance State Repeal Act Would Ban NSA ‘Back Doors’

Rep. Holt: Undermining Encryption a 'National Disservice'

The latest revelations about NSA surveillance center around their having compromised the core encryption services of the Internet, including coercing US software companies into installing “back doors” into commercial encryption products.

The security-minded are expected in the near-term to rely more on open source software solutions for encryption, since such products would be impossible to covertly install back doors into, but with the underlying backbone of the Internet also including proprietary software, Congress is looking hard at curtailing the NSA’s tactics.

Rep. Rush Holt Jr. (D – NJ) is leading the charge on the backdoor problem, warning that the NSA’s efforts to make US commercial software less secure was a “national disservice” and was harming US competitiveness.

Holt’s Surveillance State Repeal Act is at the center of his answer to this, and would overtly ban the practice, as well as repealing broad portions of the post-9/11 authority granted to the NSA.

Once dismissed as too aggressive to have much chance in the House, Holt’s act is getting a lot more credibility as new NSA scandals keep piling up and the untenability of the status quo becomes more and more apparent.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of