In the wake of the FBI’s failed fight against Apple, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced a draft bill that would effectively ban strong crypto.
The bill would require tech and communications companies to allow law enforcement with a court order to decrypt their customers’ data. Last week a draft copy of the bill, dubbed the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016, was leaked, but the new version is even worse than the discussion draft.
The bill would apply to “device manufacturers, software manufacturers, electronic communication services, remote communication services, providers of wire or electronic communication services, providers of remote communication services, or any person who provides a product or method to facilitate a communication or to process or store data.” That’s a pretty wide net.
“No entity or individual is above the law,” said Feinstein. “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.”
Not that it would stop terrorists – apart from the very, very stupid ones. This law would only apply to US companies or overseas firms with offices here, so anyone else who writes encryption software would still be able to sell their code online to the evil terrorists and their ilk.