Burr and Feinstein turn their backs on liberty and privacy
❝ Security researchers and civil liberties advocates on Friday condemned draft legislation leaked from the U.S. Senate that would let judges order technology companies to assist law enforcement agencies in breaking into encrypted data.
The long-awaited bill is emerging just as the U.S. Justice Department redoubles its efforts to use the courts to force Apple to help unlock encrypted iPhones.
❝ The Senate proposal is an attempt to resolve long-standing disagreements between the technology community, which believes strong encryption is essential to keep hackers and others from disrupting the Internet, and law enforcement officials worried about being unable to pry open encrypted devices and communications of criminal suspects.
But the draft bill, leaked online Thursday evening, was planned as an overly vague measure that added up to a ban on strong encryption.
❝ Kevin Bankston, director of the Open Technology Institute, said in a statement it was the “most ludicrous, dangerous, technically illiterate tech policy proposal of the 21st century…”
❝ …The most current draft of the proposal…would give judges broad authority to order tech companies to hand over data in “an intelligible format” or provide “technical assistance” to access locked data. It does not spell out what form the data must take or under what circumstances a company would be forced to help…
In a joint statement, the authors of the bill, Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, said they were still working with stakeholders to finalize the bill…
Two leading representatives of the kind of incompetents Americans elect and re-elect to regulate our lives and freedom. Sad commentary on the level of political hacks who can always be counted upon to fall to their knees at the slightest request from someone with a uniform and a badge.
❝ The proposal from Burr and Feinstein, the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee respectively, is expected to face a steep climb in a gridlocked U.S. Congress during an election year.
“For the first time in America, companies that want to protect their customers with stronger security will not have that choice,” Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and vocal privacy advocate told reporters Friday. “They will be required by federal law per this statute to decide how to weaken their products to make Americans less safe.”
Matt Blaze, a professor and computer security expert at the University of Pennsylvania, said on Twitter that the bill was worse than a failed effort by President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s to require a special computer chip in phones to give the U.S. government a way to monitor encrypted conversations.
Same as it ever was, eh?