Many people have been discussing what the EARN IT act entails for services that offer E2E encryption, but almost nobody has mentioned or asked what this act would entail for the messaging services that don't offer E2E encryption. Think Google Hangouts, Instagram's private messaging, and so on.

What would this act entail or imply for apps that are not E2E encrypted and already have 'backdoors' in place for authorities to access with a warrant? Will they still be subject to the same ''best practices''? if so, why?

And along with that there has been concern that this act will violate the 4th Amendment. People have said that any evidence obtained without a warrant would be inadmissible in court. But as far as I have read, nobody has explained h o w they would go about obtaining this evidence. Are they going to be sitting down or have a system in place that reads everything you send over a messaging app and report anything they don't like like some twisted form of spyware? I don't see how they would be able to do this otherwise. Even if they did, would this really be necessary on apps that are yet again not end to end encrypted?

And what of messages sent before the act was passed(should it pass). Are they retroactively effected by this passing as well or will they essentially be ''forgotten'' about?

Again, all of these questions I'm asking from the perspective involving apps that are not end to end encrypted. The implications are vague but present with what will happen to apps like whatsapp. But what about the apps already in line with lacking end to end encryption? What becomes of the others (Snapchat, Google Hangouts, Google Mail, and so on)?

Any information at all would be appreciated.

  • As a U.S. person, I'm sort of upset at myself and/or the media for being so busy with covid-19 that I didn't know that was a thing until just now.
    – user29681
    Apr 15 '20 at 16:40
  • Looking at this, while part of your question is political in nature, I think the Law Stack Exchange might have better expertise to answer your question.
    – user29681
    Apr 15 '20 at 16:56
  • 1
    VTC speculation. The EARN IT act establishes a 19 member commission to make recommendations to Congress. Until such recommendations are made, it is not possible to determine its effect on end-to-end encryption or enforcement of those recommendations.
    – Rick Smith
    Apr 15 '20 at 17:22

There's no way to know

We had a question about what the issues with EARN IT are and the important thing to take away there is that the act doesn't actually address encryption at all. The concern about E2E could be summed up as

  1. It empowers the Attorney General (Bill Barr) to draft rules about what sites must do to retain Section 230 protections
  2. Those rules could include demands of a E2E back door, something that AG Barr has advocated

Since the law itself contains no rules about it, the impact won't be known for months or years after the law is signed.