Senators Richard Burr and Diane Feinstein released the official version of their anti-encryption bill on Thursday, after a draft surfaced online last week.
Titled the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, the bill would require tech firms to decrypt customers’ data at a court’s request. Its a pretty terrifying prospect, but thankfully one that isn’t likely to happen – the bill has barely any support and isn’t expected to get anywhere in the Senate.
‘I have believed that data is too insecure, and feel strongly that consumers have a right to seek solutions that protect their information – which involves strong encryption,’ Sen. Burr said in a statement announcing the bill. However, although seemingly a supporter of strong encryption, Burr’s bill calls for the opposite. It would make communications services backdoor their encryption in order to provide ‘intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information or data.’ Sen. Feinstein added: ‘The bill we have drafted would simply provide that, if a court of law issues an order to render technical assistance or provide decrypted data, the company or individual would be required to do so. Today, terrorists and criminals are increasingly using encryption to foil law enforcement efforts, even in the face of a court order. We need strong encryption to protect personal data, but we also need to know when terrorists are plotting to kill Americans.’
Fortunately, the bill has not only been blasted by the tech community and activists, but by President Obama himself as well as fellow senators, including Sen. Ron Wyden who tweeted that he would do ‘everything in [his] power’ to block the bill, including filibustering it.