Burr & Feinstein Officially Release Anti-Encryption Bill, As Wyden Promises To Filibuster It

from the and-off-we-go dept

Last week, we wrote about a “discussion draft” of Senators Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein’s new anti-encryption bill that would effectively require any company doing anything with encryption to make sure that encryption was flat out broken, putting everyone at risk. Feinstein and Burr’s offices refused to comment on the criticism of the draft, insisting that they were still working on the bill. Well, late Wednesday Burr officially released a copy of the bill and it’s basically the same insane bill we saw last week. As far as I can tell, the only real change is further defining what is meant by a “court order.” It used to just say any court order, but now says only court orders for specific issues, but it’s a pretty broad list: crimes involving serious bodily harm, foreign intelligence, espionage, terrorism, sexual exploitation of a minor, a “serious violent felony,” or a serious drug crime. So, I guess we should feel relieved that it won’t be used for cases where someone’s caught trespassing or something? It’s still a ridiculous bill (and it still doesn’t explain what the penalties are).

Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden has renewed his opposition to the bill by going a step further and promising to filibuster if the bill is brought to the floor:

?The encryption debate is about having more security or having less security. This legislation would effectively outlaw Americans from protecting themselves. It would ban the strongest types of encryption and undermine the foundation of cybersecurity for millions of Americans. This flawed bill would leave Americans more vulnerable to stalkers, identity thieves, foreign hackers and criminals. And yet it will not make us safer from terrorists or other threats. Bad actors will continue to have access to encryption, from hundreds of sources overseas. Furthermore, this bill will empower repressive regimes to enact similar laws and crack down on persecuted minorities around the world,? Wyden said.

?Americans who value their security and liberty must join together to oppose this dangerous proposal. I intend to oppose this bill in committee and if it reaches the Senate floor, I will filibuster it.?

Stay tuned, because this fight is just beginning…

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Comments on “Burr & Feinstein Officially Release Anti-Encryption Bill, As Wyden Promises To Filibuster It”

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43 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“” .. only court orders for specific issues, but it’s a pretty broad list: crimes involving serious bodily harm, foreign intelligence, espionage, terrorism, sexual exploitation of a minor, a “serious violent felony,” or a serious drug crime.”

What about bank fraud? Oh yeah, I forgot – that is perfectly legal activity. It certainly appears that way.

So, how does their list compare with other things that are a threat to our society today? Lets look at the top ten causes of death in this country .. hmmm, I do not see any of their listed items here – go figure.

Now look at the general consensus for the top ten issues facing this country today. Again, I do not see any of their listed items here.

Seems they are way out on a limb with their silly rationalizations, it makes them look ignorant and self serving. Many people think there are better things for their representatives to be working on. Maybe they will not be re-elected because of it, we will see – but I have little faith in those who are allowed to vote these days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hypocrisy at it's finest.

So what’s to stop someone from downloading a program written in a foreign country and using encryption that doesn’t have a backdoor? This makes absolutely no sense and will simply bankrupt companies. Want to use S3 to backup your data? Well it can’t be encrypted securely so you are now in violation of HIPAA, SOX, DoD standards, et al. The government itself just last year was pushing for better encryption and security in the cloud to consolidate DCs, so I guess now they will have to pull all of that back to private servers as I’m sure they don’t want Amazon to be able to access that information with a valid court order.

Ed Allen says:

Re: Hypocrisy at it's finest.

Not to mention all the hardware and software already released without this intentional flaw.

Will companies be held responsible for not bricking older hardware if the current possessors refuse to replace them ?

Is that not a “taking” of property without due process ?

How can Google keep me from encrypting a message before giving it to Gmail ?

Court orders cannot be all powerful. What order will resurrect the dead for example ?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Give it time

It used to just say any court order, but now says only court orders for specific issues, but it’s a pretty broad list: crimes involving serious bodily harm, foreign intelligence, espionage, terrorism, sexual exploitation of a minor, a “serious violent felony,” or a serious drug crime. So, I guess we should feel relieved that it won’t be used for cases where someone’s caught trespassing or something?

Yet.

How many programs or laws were sold by claiming that they would only ever be used for stopping major crimes or threats like terrorism, and are now used for trivial crimes or just because they can be used?

You start with the big stuff, the stuff where it’s hard for people to object against someone ‘trying to do something’, and then once you get the law on the books it’s not ‘if’ but ‘when‘ it will be expanded to cover the most minor stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Same as the anti-gunner crowd

Here is how it could read:

“The gun debate is about having more security or having less security. This legislation would effectively outlaw Americans from protecting themselves. It would ban the strongest types of defense and undermine the foundation of our 2nd amendment right for millions of Americans. This flawed bill would leave Americans more vulnerable to stalkers, thieves, rapists and criminals. And yet it will not make us safer from terrorists or other threats such as a tyrannical government. Bad actors will continue to have access to guns, from hundreds of sources overseas and south of the border. Furthermore, this bill will empower a repressive government to enact more tyrannical laws and crack down on persecuted minorities at home,” Wyden said.

AricTheRed says:

Burr & Feinstein Approved!!!

…………………/´¯/)
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………./’/…/…./……./¨¯
……….(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
……………………….’…../
………………………… _.·´
………………………(
…………………………

trparky (profile) says:

Here's some content...

I have some content that Wyden can talk about during his day-long filibuster.

First, read the whole of the US Constitution. Then, once that’s done read the whole of the Bill of Rights and while you’re at it, put emphasis on the parts of the Bill of Rights that the bill he’s filibustering would threaten. And then finally, the book 1984 by George Orwell for just desserts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It is worse than that. After ww2 ended the allies allowed many Nazi scientists and surviving top brass to be integrated into their governments in exchange for everything they knew.

Essentially the Nazi’s infiltrated and spent decades exposing various people to their ideas, and such ideas are coming home to roost.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Filibuster

I am generally against fillibusters as they usually kill debate when actual debate needs to happen. But in this case, I will hapilly print out and send in any document, article or even book that Wyden would like to read out during this particular filibuster. I recommend this week’s Techdirt Reading List book.

Whatever (profile) says:

Wyden’s threat to filibuster (not shocking that Techdirt has this news almost instantly, but I digress) mostly proves a couple of things about the concept:

1 – Wyden is concerned that if it gets to a vote that it would easily pass

2 – allowing real debate and real discussion on the subject would be contrary to the “message” from Wyden’s internet based supporters, and

3 – a filibuster is in many ways the ultimate anti-democratic tool, where the minority (one person or a small group) disrupt the actions of the legally elected majority for their own benefit.

Wyden loves to grandstand, and this is a perfect example. It’s right up his alley and plays well to his internet backers, including the Wyden2020PAC or whatever Mike will end up calling it! (yes, I am suggesting that Mike will work on Wyden’s Presidential bid, either 2020 or 2024, mark it down!).

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