White House declines to support legislation to defeat strong encryption

“The White House is declining to offer public support for draft legislation that would empower judges to require technology companies such as Apple Inc to help law enforcement crack encrypted data, sources familiar with the discussions said.,” Mark Hosenball and Dustin Volz report for Reuters. “The decision all but assures that the years-long political impasse over encryption will continue even in the wake of the high-profile effort by the Department of Justice to force Apple to break into an iPhone used by a gunman in last December’s shootings in San Bernardino, California.”

“The draft legislation from Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Republican chair and top Democrat respectively of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to be introduced as soon as this week,” Hosenball and Volz report. “The bill gives federal judges broad authority to order tech companies to help the government but does not spell out what companies might have to do or the circumstances under which they could be ordered to help, according to sources familiar with the text. It also does not create specific penalties for noncompliance.”

“Tech companies and civil liberties advocates have opposed encryption legislation, arguing that mandating law enforcement access to tech products will undermine security for everyone,” Hosenball and Volz report. “Even some intelligence officials worry that enabling law enforcement agencies to override encryption will create more problems than it solves by opening the door to hackers and foreign intelligence services.”

“The White House last year backed away from pursuing legislation that would require U.S. technology firms to provide a “back door” to access encrypted data. The backpedaling resembled a retreat by President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s on efforts to require a special computer chip in phones to give the U.S. government a way to monitor encrypted conversations,” Hosenball and Volz report. “Apple and others have called on Congress to help find a solution to the problem of criminals and terrorists using encryption to avoid surveillance. A separate proposal to form a national encryption commission to further study the issue is also not expected to be enacted this year.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month regarding this idiotic bill: “Encryption is a binary issue. It’s either on or off. There is no middle ground. There is no magical ‘access’ for just the ‘good guys.’ …Oppose ill-informed senators like Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein who seem to live in some fantasyland that does not exist.”

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

U.S. Senator Wyden pledges to fight limits on encryption – March 31, 2016


    1. Trump lack the broad vision required. Instead of building a wall between his country and Mexico to keep the Mexicans out he should build a wall around the entire country to keep the citizens of his country in. If that were the case everyone would be lining up to pay for it.

      It could be called the feathered wall, inside the wall, pictures of Eagles to show Trump’s nation how brave they are, and on the outside, chicken feathers, to show the free and civilized world what they really are.

  1. At least they are not being completely stupid like so many other politicians, but there is a big difference between opposing something and merely declining to support it.

    We really need politicians with the sense to clearly say that strong encryption is here, is a good thing and will remain as part of our lives.

    The FBI need to get over it. Their amateurish efforts have raised the temperature in the encryption debate and strong encryption together with more secure device locking is now becoming the norm for all sorts of devices and services.

  2. I guess the support by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein means they are cool with you hacking their phone and stalking them day and night. Listening to their conversations after you turn on their phones with out their knowledge.

    Nice people to be so open. LOL ps. /s

  3. Excellent. It’s good to see something not-stupid within my government. Always welcome!

    As for Feinstein and Burr: It’s time their move was open to public view and derision. Post your silly bill please, honorable Senators.

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