President Donald Trump’s move to revoke the licenses of several leading U.S. tech companies over alleged security issues and his administration’s refusal to let them use encryption software has left many worried that the president will limit their ability to innovate, a prominent Silicon Valley lawyer said Wednesday.
“The chill effect will be tremendous,” said Jeffrey Eisenberg, who previously served as an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
“They’re going to feel like they’re under siege and they’re going be unable to innovate.”
Eisenberg also argued that the Trump administration is not going to allow major technology companies to continue to use encryption technologies, even as it continues to fight for the reauthorization of key encryption technology.
The Trump administration had issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying it was reviewing the issue.
The president has not issued any new executive orders on encryption, but Eisenberg said he has not heard from him about the issue in the past.
The issue is particularly vexing because Trump has publicly criticized tech companies and called them “the enemy of the American people,” Eisenberg argued.
“There is a big risk that he’s going to do nothing and not do anything to prevent them from doing something that they feel is important, even though they know it’s a bad idea,” Eisenberger said.
“He’s going take this issue on a blind faith that they will be able to adapt.”
Trump’s directive on Thursday said that companies that use encryption will have to “refrain from sharing data with the government” and must provide users with a mechanism to opt out of sharing their data with government.
Trump has previously suggested that the U.K. should be the next country to implement encryption, arguing that “we have the technology and we have the people, we just need to do it.”
The new order from the White House is the latest step in Trump’s crackdown on tech innovation.
The White House has called for the government to impose a nationwide “back door” to encryption and to make it “virtually impossible for anyone” to hack into encryption.
Trump signed a directive last year requiring the Justice and Homeland Security Departments to work with federal judges to issue court orders requiring companies to hand over user data to the government.
The order said that the order “shall be construed to apply to any information transmitted to or stored by or through a service provider in the course of the provider’s services.”
But Eisenberg and other experts say the orders could also be used to justify the withholding of encryption technologies from companies.
The new administration has previously signaled its preference for a “backdoor” for encryption.
If you can’t do it yourself, you can let the world do it. “
But I don’t want to wait and see what happens, so that I can do it on my own.
If you can’t do it yourself, you can let the world do it.
#MakeAmericaGreatAgain” The Trump Administration has already indicated that it intends to issue a rule that will make it more difficult for companies to encrypt communications.
The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that it would be imposing a requirement for the FBI to ask for access to encrypted communications after a terrorist attack.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation would be required to provide access to a computer network where encrypted messages are stored, and the bureau would also be required “to obtain and retain encryption keys from any service provider providing encrypted communications,” according to the Department’s guidance.
The guidance was published Wednesday and was based on an Oct. 25 memo from Acting Director Jeh Johnson.
It was unclear when the memo was first released.