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Mandatory Decryption Bill Flops Post ‘Apple vs FBI’ Drama

05/30/2016

Mandatory Decryption Bill Flops Post ‘Apple vs FBI’ Drama

Draft legislation backed by Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Fenstein, the Republican and Democratic heads of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which could potentially force corporations like Apple to decrypt data on-demand, seems to have hit still waters. Sources claim that the bill doesn’t have the support of the Obama administration, with former CIA and NSA director, Michael Hayden, in fact claiming that the White House has “dropped anchor and taken down the sail”.

 

Committee members from both sides of the fence have reportedly backed away from the legislation, especially Democrats, and apparently no one in the House ever offered support for the fledgling bill. According to Reuters, even the CIA and NSA have been “ambivalent” regarding the draft legislation, known as the Compliance With Court Orders Act of 2016. Ironically, officials within the agencies are said to have been concerned that the law would interfere with their own “encryption needs”.

 

The Burr-Feinstein bill emerged in the wake of Apple's recent scuffle with the Department of Justice and the FBI over unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Despite the DoJ eventually withdrawing the court order demanding Apple build them a back door into iOS, claiming they had figured it out themselves, this was only one of the more prominent of many such cases where authorities are demanding access to private data. Indeed, many in U.S. law enforcement, such as FBI director James Comey, are still asking for backdoors, worried that encryption is putting some communications beyond their reach.

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