Senators Burr And Feinstein, Once Again, Threatening New Bill To Backdoor Encryption

from the yeah-that's-not-going-to-go-over-well dept

They've been promising it for months now, without ever actually doing anything, but Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr (the two top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee) now insist that they're finally ready to release their anti-encryption bill.
Feinstein told The Hill she passed the text along earlier this week to White House chief of staff Denis McDonough.

“My hope is since I was the one that gave it to Denis McDonough, they will take a look at it and let us know what they think,” she said.

The Obama administration’s response will determine the bill’s timing, Burr added.

The introduction “depends on how fast the White House gets back to us,” he said.
Since, to date, the administration has actually indicated that it does not support such a bill, one hopes that means the introduction will continue to be "sometime around never." Even if it is introduced, it sounds like the bill may actually have a tough time getting anywhere. As we've noted, recent hearings suggest that many in Congress are quite skeptical of the FBI/DOJ's claim that it needs backdoors into encryption. Indeed, even many in the intelligence community (which you'd think would have indicated this to Burr and Feinstein) don't seem particularly enthusiastic about this. Reliable Feinstein/Burr allies like former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff and former NSA director Mike McConnell have spoken out strongly against such plans.

Given all that, it's bizarre and ridiculous that Feinstein and Burr are continuing to move forward with this plan. Hopefully, the White House educates them on the issue and tells them to toss this bill into the garbage where it belongs.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Socrates, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:10pm

    Compromised software

    Will there be a effort outside of the US to move important people toward non compromised software?
    Will there be such an effort in the US?
    What about the sheeple and ordinary businesses?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:28pm

    Don't you worry yourself at all. If it doesn't get passed, they'll be sure to slip it into a must-pass bill as a rider!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    bshock, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:32pm

    once again, politics vs. the nature of physical reality

    I wonder how many people in government understand that legally mandating encryption backdoors that can only be used by "good guys" is as ridiculous and dangerous as legally setting pi equal to integer 3.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:34pm

    What part of "mathematically impossible" don't they get?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    limbodog (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:35pm

    Dear Democrats

    If you ever want to win me over to your side, you're going to have to ditch Feinstein first.

    -An independent

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:35pm

    Forget airplane doors and having to go to the bathroom. Easy to understand, but mandating backdoors is equivalent to the government banning people from putting locks on doors to their houses because the police might need to gain quick access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Digitari, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    the Government thinks that is just nerd talk to cover laziness.

    Nothing is impossible, just highly improbable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Tim R (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 2:54pm

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat

    Isn't this why people are so disenfranchised with the federal government? The arrogant hardline stance that they know how to handle our stuff better than we do? Doesn't really matter if it's our own bodies (abortion, drugs, healthcare), our own property (eminent domain, asset forfeiture, triennial DMCA exemptions), or in some cases, our own opinions (lobbyists and cronyism contravening the will of the people). And with an alleged consolidation of power in various critical segments of the public sector, it's a wonder they haven't gotten further than they have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Haywood (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 3:16pm

    when encryption is outlawed

    Only outlaws will have encryption

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Dear Democrats

    > If you ever want to win me over to your side, you're going to have to ditch Feinstein first.


    Don't throw the Wyden out with the Bathwater...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    James Tester, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 3:42pm

    Knowing Obama he is probably salavating over this bill to end encryption. Obama will only send back the bill to Feinstein and Burr if there is not enough spying in the encryption backdoor Bill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:12pm

    What the hell is going on with congress? Even if, by some miracle, they manage to pass such a bill and even if Obama happens to to sign it into law, there's no way the U.S. Supreme Court would allow the law to stand as it would be deemed unconstitutional.

    The way I see it, it's beyond the government's authority to force any person, entity, company or business to engage in behavior or conduct that would be contrary to their interests. Indentured servitude doesn't exist in this country and this is exactly what congress and the government is trying to do.

    Not only are they trying to force Apple into indentured servitude by forcing them to build something that they currently do not have but then they are also trying to pass laws forcing business entities to build backdoors into all of their products.

    This isn't what congress was designed for. Good grief! It feels like were back in the 1950's again, where neighbors were spying on neighbors and reporting them to the police. This smacks of communism and that isn't what this country stands for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:12pm

    How do these idiots keep getting elected?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. icon
    madasahatter (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:44pm

    Too Bad

    It's a shame that Burr & Feinstein can not be charged with treason, convicted, and executed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:45pm

    Re:

    The sad part is, all it will take is for it to get passed for all of the repressive regimes out there to place similar laws on the books using the US as a model. Even if it is found unconstitutional later, it will only ever be remembered that we passed such a law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Groaker (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:54pm

    Feinstein and the rest of the Senators just loved being spied on by the CIA. It made them feel just so important that the CIA would actually break the law to find out what the Senate was thinking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    JoeCool (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    Nah, it's more like requiring the locks to use the same master key, then requiring that key to be hanging on a hook next the to door to make it easy for LEO to access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Dear Democrats

    Feinstein said a while back that she's retiring after her current term.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    JoeCool (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:57pm

    Re:

    Because our choices tend to be between the idiot and a raving mad-dog killer... and I'm THIS CLOSE to voting for the raving mad-dog killer these days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 4:58pm

    Re:

    "there's no way the U.S. Supreme Court would allow the law to stand as it would be deemed unconstitutional"

    I wish I shared your optimism, but the last couple of decades have led me to doubt the ability of the Supreme Court to determine Constitutionality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 5:14pm

    Plausible Deniability

    When you enter the wrong password, rather than telling you you did bad, it pops to a fake account that contains just enough user data to seem real.

    If the fixed memory is checked, most of the phone's data looks like garbage in unused sectors.

    That way, no-one can claim that you didn't unlock the phone, or that the phone might contain additional data.

    Coming to the next iOS or Android release.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 5:27pm

    Re:

    The parties have successfully convinces most of the electorate that they are the only choice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 5:36pm

    Anti-encryption is anti-safety and anti-freedom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Mar 10th, 2016 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re:

    They're certainly the only choice we're given.

    Especially if the alternative is to elect the really bad idea.

    Trump, Romney, Palin. The last three elections had someone we really didn't want in office to vote against.

    Five if you count the Bush years, only in those cases the RBI got elected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Write in none of the above. If enough people do so, even the politicians will have to stand up and take notice. Imagine in a close election, if the "winner" gets only 48% of the vote and tries to claim a mandate. They will come of looking stupider than we already no them to be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2016 @ 11:01pm

    Re:

    No, it's more like government being authorized to compel doctors to misdiagnose patients and lawyers to deliberately lose cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 2:14am

    Feinstein has proven herself in my eyes that she is dedicated to destroying the country she supposedly serves as a senator

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 2:22am

    Re: when encryption is outlawed

    save those in the government that exempt themselves from having the law applied to them. something something national security means we get to have encryption but it is a crime if anyone else has it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 2:25am

    Re: Too Bad

    that would require people in charge that are not supporting such treasonous activities

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. identicon
    Idiot, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 3:25am

    Re. idiots

    Q: How do these idiots keep getting elected?
    A: Other idiots keep electing them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Groaker (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re:

    I will agree that most things are merely highly improbable, but there are things that are impossible.

    Perpetual motion
    A good half of all starting positions in the Fifteen puzzle are unsolvable.
    Constructing a triangle from its angle bisectors is in general impossible
    Creating a machine that would tell for every statement whether it's true or false.
    Deriving Euclid's fifth postulate from the other four.
    Doubling a cube
    Finding the center of a given circle with the straightedge alone
    An Impossible Frame
    An Impossible Fork
    An Impossible Page
    Impossible to optimize the ratio Area/Price by a combination of two pizzas of different sizes.
    Moving pegs five places in one direction
    Representing √2 as a rational fraction p/q.
    Solving the general quintic equation in radicals.
    Squaring a circle
    Structural Constellation
    Trisecting an angle (in general)
    Emptying Prisons with Simple Shapes
    It is impossible to find four consecutive integers whose product is a square.


    And ever so many more

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. icon
    Groaker (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Dear Democrats

    Feinstein may retire, but the evil that she and her husband have done will live on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Dear Democrats

    Indeed, but at least she won't be making any new evil. Of course, whoever replaces her might.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 6:35am

    Fuck that two faced freedom ruining bitch, Feinstein. Just die of natural causes already you ancient fuck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, lets know pretend that we know more than we actually do.

    The Universe itself appears to be machine of Perpetual Motion despite the law of conservation of energy. Unless you know something about the Universe the rest of us do not. We have no knowledge of an external energy source to the Universe so by the definition of the Law of Conservation it might be actually perpetual. And do not bring up entropy, just because we may not survive our current understanding of where Entropy is leading does not mean that the universe will not.

    We do not know from whence it came or to where it goes, pretending that we do know based on the rather limited view & understanding we currently have is a work of Hubris and Ego unfitting for any scientist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2016 @ 10:11am

    Note to Feinstein - repeating the same task over and over and expecting different results may be a sign of insanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re. idiots

    No. They vote for the idiot to keep the sociopath from taking office.

    See how that works?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    Or in this case politics, though the two can be kind of hard to tell apart at times I suppose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    Monday (profile), Mar 11th, 2016 @ 11:01am

    Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr are, again, showing just ignorant they are on encryption - dangerous.

    I would like for once to see a Leader (POTUS perhaps) just come forward and speak from the podium to 'the people', once for all, telling just how dangerous and impossible and weakening and abusive creating "backdoors" to anything is. Speaking on just what the near and far reaching ramifications are, and close this debate for, as long as possible; good we could only hope.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2016 @ 1:38am

    I'd like to tear her a new back door, but am allergic to insect bites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    James Blake, Mar 24th, 2016 @ 11:19am

    SB Surveillance Video

    San Bernardino - Surveillance Video

    Does the video Match the FBI's story??

    IT Department, SB Regional Center

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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