0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
In the wake of revelations about the extent of US spying, both Apple and Google announced in September their newest phones will be encrypted by default. That means no one—not law enforcement or the companies themselves—would be able to grab data off a locked device.The FBI didn't like that idea one bit and they said so to Congress. On Thursday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill that, if passed, would make sure the companies can encrypt unmolested. The Secure Data Act would prohibit government agencies from requiring any "backdoors" be placed in US software or hardware."Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans’ data safe from hackers and foreign threats," said Wyden in a statement. He continues: It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person’s whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone. And strong computer security can rebuild consumer trust that has been shaken by years of misstatements by intelligence agencies about mass surveillance of Americans. This bill sends a message to leaders of those agencies to stop recklessly pushing for new ways to vacuum up Americans’ private information, and instead put that effort into rebuilding public trust.There's no current mandate requiring backdoors, but Wyden's bill would shut down law enforcement's continued efforts to get that access. The bill itself [PDF] is just two pages long, and a fact sheet [PDF] is also available.The fight over surveillance will continue in the next Congress. Last month, the Senate fell two votes short of moving forward a bill that would have banned the massive phone database.Wyden's bill reflects the fact that while the political battle will continue, as long as spying continues, encryption will play an increasingly important role in protecting user privacy.An amendment similar to Wyden's bill passed the House in June on a 293-123 bipartisan vote, but didn't ultimately make it into the bill.