U.S. Senate panel releases draft of controversial bill that would break encryption

“Two U.S. senators on Wednesday issued a formal draft of a controversial bill that would give courts the power to order technology companies like Apple to help authorities break into encrypted devices or communications for law enforcement or intelligence purposes,” Mark Hosenball and Dustin Volz report for Reuters. “The proposal arrives just days after an earlier draft leaked online and drew fire from security researchers and civil liberties advocates who warned it would undermine Internet security and expose personal data to hackers.”

“Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, the Senate intelligence committee’s Republican chair and top Democrat, said in a statement they intended now to ‘solicit input from the public and key stakeholders before formally introducing the bill,'” Hosenball and Volz report. “The new discussion draft does not require manufacturers or communications companies to process, transmit or store data in any particular format. Rather, it requires companies, upon receipt of a court order, to turn over to the government ‘data in an intelligible format’ even if encryption has rendered that data inaccessible to anyone other than the owner.”

“Companies must ensure their products ‘be capable of complying,’ the bill states,” Hosenball and Volz report. “The proposed legislation, which is expected to continue facing strong opposition from the technology sector and privacy advocates, faces an uphill battle in a gridlocked Congress.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This bill is garbage and thankfully is likely DOA.

Hopefully, Congress will listen to the few techie members they have and not follow the whims of vapid career politicians like Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr who have no idea what they’re dealing with.

Apple’s fight with U.S. government over privacy enters a new round – April 12, 2016
Dianne Feinstein’s response to Apple-FBI dispute is bad for privacy, security – April 8, 2016
White House declines to support legislation to defeat strong encryption – April 7, 2016
U.S. Senator Wyden pledges to fight limits on encryption – March 31, 2016
Apple: ‘Government misunderstands the technology’ involved in demanding they decrypt an iPhone – March 16, 2016
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham finally talks to tech experts, switches side to Apple vs. FBI – March 15, 2016
Obama pushes for iPhone back door; Congressman Issa blasts Obama’s ‘fundamental lack of understanding’ – March 12, 2016
California Democrat Diane Feinstein backs U.S. government overreach over Apple – March 10, 2016
U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa: The FBI should try to unlock shooter’s iPhone without Apple’s help – March 2, 2016
U.S. Representative Darrell Issa on Apple vs. FBI: Very scary when your government wants to know more about you – February 24, 2016


    1. More like the “Bend Over Bill” because Feinstein and Burr want the public to bend over so they can stick it in our back door.

      Seriously though, the NSA or FBI must have some good stuff on Feinstein. What else could explain her efforts to kill the most successful industry in her state. She can’t be that ignorant. Oh wait….

    2. Which senators, congressmen and WDC staffers will be willing to use a phone which is back-doored?

      How much easier will it be for the PRK and Commies to break into the WDC data systems? My guess is it will become trivial with a back-door bill.

  1. “Rather, it requires companies, upon receipt of a court order, to turn over to the government “data in an intelligible format” even if encryption has rendered that data inaccessible to anyone other than the owner.”

    Talk about wanting the moon. You want fries and time travel with that?

  2. Here is one citizen’s input:

    Take the draft bill and BURN IT. 📛

    The US Senate is not above the law! Never attempt to circumvent or wreck the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the US Constitution again! You look like either utter fools doing so OR you’re simply traitors to the USA and the citizens who created and run its government.

    1. Aren’t they called “Amendments” because they’ve been amended to the earlier Constitution? Therefore, can’t action further amend it? It’s a legitimate question of mine because people speak as if it’s written in stone and never-changing. I think the most forward-thinking countries need to be flexible to change and adaptation, rather than holding onto a document with a death grip.

      1. Amending the constitution requires supermajorities in both houses of Congress followed by ratification by a supermajority of states. That is almost impossible for anything that does not have nearly unanimous public support. It would be absolutely impossible to amend the Bill of Rights. As it should be!

      1. There is actually plenty of that to go around from both the past and present actions of my government. But it’s a waste of time at this point to bother ranting about it as most people simply don’t want to know or it offends their political tribe, despite these being crimes against US citizens.

      1. Oh dear. The DC crowd pretends extreme politeness, manners and proper protocol. Compared to the British House of Commons, they actually are! Think of a more officious and respectful way to portray this sexual analogy. 😉

  3. RE: “Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr who have no idea what they’re dealing with.”

    You’re giving them too much credit, I believe.

    IMO, they’re not ignorant and they know EXACTLY what they’re doing. They want “Nineteen Eighty-Four” to come to fruition and it’s sickening. If this was truly based on ignorance, they can be called dimwitted and clueless but I don’t think that’s the case.

    TL/DR: Politicians in support of this legislature should be removed from office and shot into space.

      1. Your suggestion would be certainly less expensive than using one of our launch vehicles to dispose of them. Bullets are certainly cheaper. The Chinese used to sent a bill to the families of the executed people for the cost of the bullet.

  4. From the article …”they intended now to ‘solicit input from the public and key stakeholders before formally introducing the bill,’”

    Are not the public stakeholders in the Bill of Rights? Are all the “stake holders” in the DOJ/FBI? Who then comes first, government employees or the public. It’s the public.

  5. Here’s a fun article about the bill from The Register over in London, UK:

    Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security
    El Reg takes latest Burr-Feinstein legislation apart – and it’s worse than before

    “Encryption has proven to be one of our most effective tools to combat crime and is critical to keeping Americans safe and their private information secure,” said Application Developers Alliance President and CEO Jake Ward.

    “Efforts to undermine security – especially those compelling companies and developers to act against the best interests of their consumers – is short-sighted and will ultimately stifle the inventiveness and ingenuity that has made America the world’s innovation leader. This is a trade-off that cannot be had.”

  6. Rightwinger Dem. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rightwinger Sen. Rep. Sen. Burr want to spy on your iPhone data. They are dead set to pass this bill. Therefore, they will not listen to reason, so simply order them to back off. They know what this means. It means that they are your overpaid, overly privileged, overly wealthy, and coddled servants.

    202.224.3841 & 310.914.7300

    And if you are in California, tell Sen. Barbara Boxer, Feinstein’s colleague, to tell Feinstein to back off.

    202.224.3553 & 951.684.4849

  7. The Register posted a fun story featuring quotes from encryption genius Bruce Schnier about the Feinstein-Burr Technology Illiteracy Bozo Bill:

    US anti-encryption law is so ‘braindead’ it will outlaw file compression
    Burr-Feinstein’s proposed legislation will screw over the NSA, too, says Bruce Schneier

    “This is the most braindead piece of legislation I’ve ever seen,” Schneier – who has just been appointed a Fellow of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard – told The Reg. “The person who wrote this either has no idea how technology works or just doesn’t care.”

    He pointed out that it isn’t just cryptographic code that would be affected by this poorly written legislation. Schneier, like pretty much everyone, uses lossy compression algorithms to reduce the size of images for sending via email but – as it won’t work in reverse and add back the data removed – this code could be banned by the law, too. Files that can’t be decrypted on demand to their original state, and files that can’t be decompressed back to their exact originals, all look the same to this draft law.

    Even deleted data could be covered, he opined. Are software companies to put in place mechanisms to retrieve any and all deleted information? It could be inferred from the bill as it stands.

    ∑ = #MyStupidGovernment at work.

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