That said, as it is, I think things are like this:
- House majority will not support it, unless it's dramatically watered down (The House has been quite privacy-friendly/anti-backdoors lately). However, that could still be bad news for us, if say they only demand large companies to never use end-to-end encryption for any of their products, and to only make local disk encryption optional on smartphones (but no backdoor). Apple would have to sell iPhones unencrypted, Whatsapp would have to go back to Hangouts-style encryption, and Google will never implement its End-to-End tool for Gmail. You can forget about research for homomorphic encryption for healthcare or other services (which I think Microsoft, for one, is doing right now).
- Senate majority will likely support it as is.
Edit: Senator Ron Wyden promises to filibuster it, so we have that going for us as well, although I'm not sure if this can guarantee it's dead. I think he threatened a filibuster with the USA Freedom Act as well, but didn't go through with it at the last moment, when they compromised on something else (I may not be remembering this exactly):
- Obama wants to look "neutral" right now, but I don't think he is. I think he wants the Senate version passed as well. But he would probably accept a watered down version as well.
Bottom line, if we want to stop it completely, as we did for SOPA, then we need to organize, and we need companies to do what they did for SOPA, too, and alert the public about it en masse.
They still do not understand that it's not possible to force criminals to use government-approved encryption software. Criminals can write their own encryption.
The sooner we voice up and vote out those who support such unreasonable laws, the sooner we can progress as a society towards finding the right ways to keep each other safe.
Does anyone know if there is a list of representatives showing their positions on this bill?
I think in this instance this is a case of you assuming ignorance where malice is far more likely. Looking at the comprehensive mass surveillance of, well, everyone (by the NSA et al), I think the point here is to further the goal of population control i.e. they don't care about criminals who would write their own, they just want always-on access to everyone.
I doubt it because (1) this would involve a wide-ranging conspiracy, and (2) they won't achieve their goal. If they were informed, they would know they will fail. As it is, Obama, Comey, etc will go down in history as asking technologists to perform magic. Nothing about this law helps them catch terrorists, and it hurts the US government's relationship with technologists going forward.
> they don't care about criminals who would write their own, they just want always-on access to everyone
That will not happen without a fight from companies like Apple. Ultimately, this just brings more awareness to users. It is not hard for companies to convince their users that backdoors for government make their data less secure. Tim Cook already took the first step.
More likely, I think, is technologists view government as lying about everything. We are iconoclasts seeking to break down cultural conservatisms. Also, we generalize too easily. We see government being disingenuous about one thing and assume they're dishonest about everything.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter if certain members of government are lying or not. We should be educating the public and our representatives about the fact that we can't force criminals to use government-mandated encryption.