The Right to Bear… Encryption?
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a favorite of gun owners, but could it also provide a constitutional basis for a right to encryption? That’s not as kooky as it sounds. As Motherboard’s Susan McGregor explains, the United States government has long considered encryption to be “munitions,” as was the case for Philip Zimmermann, developer of the PGP cryptographic software, when he was detained at Dulles International Airport in 1994. But if the Second Amendment guarantees Americans the right to own firearms, it might also support our right to use encryption. However, that line of reasoning opens up a family-sized can of worms. For instance, could convicted felons be barred from using encryption? Furthermore, many privacy advocates may not be thrilled to find themselves on the same side of the table as the gun lobby.