My Stance on Strong Encryption

Yesterday, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act, legislation that would require technology companies to help law enforcement agencies to access encrypted data.

The Senators’ assertion that “[warrant-proof] encryption adds little to the security of the communications of the ordinary user”1 is incorrect. “Warrant-proof” encryption, their name for strong encryption without backdoors, is required to prevent sensitive data from falling into the hands of malicious individuals over the Internet, as can be seen by the sheer number of zero-day exploits that are discovered being used by hackers in the wild every month.

This legislation would also deal a severe blow to the freedom of the press, who rely on strong encryption when reporting on the activities of tyrannical regimes. Banning such encryption would, in fact, place the United States government several steps closer to tyranny itself, and would inevitably result in the abridgement of the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments to the Constitution.

I urge my readers to contact their Senators and express their opposition to the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act. This is a moment to take a stand for freedom.


1: Graham, Cotton, Blackburn Introduce Balanced Solution to Bolster National Security, End Use of Warrant-Proof Encryption that Shields Criminal Activity. (2020, June 23). Retrieved June 24, 2020, from

What America Needs the Most

      After my mission, I didn’t take much time to stay abreast of the latest news. I would hear bits and pieces of the latest depredations of foreign countries, a lot about Donald Trump, and some mutterings about “those darn Democrats” from my parents. Without taking time to actually formulate a coherent position on any of these topics, I decided that the nations of the world should try harder to get along, that I don’t like Donald Trump, and that partisan politics isn’t for me.

      But over the past two weeks—since the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, really—I’ve noticed a common thread in the biggest headlines in the newspapers at work and in the news apps I recently added to my phone. The United States is in serious trouble: Our Union is disintegrating, whether you like it or not. And after giving it some thought, I’d like to offer what I think is the one thing our great nation, and indeed all of us as individuals, need the most.

      Friendship. That’s right, everyone! The United States needs more friendships, within and without.

      I’m not talking about merely being more civil with each other, or ending the destructive tribalism that currently wracks the land. Yes, it’d be great to solve those problems, but I fear we’re not being courageous and bold enough to halt the disaster that is looming over the world when we focus on these issues. We need to start going out of our way to make new friends, to nurture those relationships, and to serve them with true care and concern.

      How many friends do you have? No, I don’t mean on Facebook, I mean actual friends, the kind of people that you share honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty with. The kind of relationships where you feel comfortable bearing your soul, and listening to them bear their souls in return.

      What’s that you say? You don’t even have a relationship like that with your spouse?! Dear reader, I beg of you, make whatever changes are necessary in your life to start developing that kind of relationship with every person you meet. Don’t concern yourself if someone isn’t interested in being true friends with you, but open yourself to being true friends in the case that they are interested. And do whatever you can to pursue that friendship in every sector of your life—at home, at work, and everywhere between.

      I believe that only by turning our country into a nation of friends can we conquer the overwhelming challenges of our day. While we squabble together and focus on fighting the other, we lose the opportunity to become, individually, emblematic of the American Ideal: E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One. We need to be unified, yes, but we can do even better. We can care for each other, love each other, desire the best for one another, and be friends with each other.

      My challenge to you is to start by strengthening your relationships with your close family, then your extended family. Build strong bonds with your spouse, your children, and your parents. Then start to reach out, and seek opportunities to express care for your coworkers and others you interact with regularly. You needn’t be intrusive, but you can show them that you’ll be there when they need a shoulder to cry on.

      Without friendship among Americans, the United States is doomed.