Official First Draft Of Encryption Bill Released

Privacy, data, security. All keywords which seem as though their importance had grown even more of late and largely thanks to the battle which erupted between Apple and the FBI. One which in part led to the news that there is an encryption bill which is edging closer to becoming adopted. One which would essentially make it illegal for Apple (or any other tech outfit) to reject a court order to comply with accessing a device, service, encrypted or otherwise.

Speaking of which, a few days ago a leaked version of that encryption bill suddenly made its way online. As a result, much of the details of what is being put forward under the bill were revealed. Including the confirmation that companies will have to either gain access or provide a way for law enforcement agencies to gain access, when requested. Following on from the bill leaking and today, the two U.S. senators behind the proposed bill, Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein, have released an official first draft of the bill. In doing so, Senator Burr has advised that this draft will be used to “start a meaningful and inclusive debate on the role of encryption,” as well as helping to establish a way forward with encryption's “place within the rule of law."

While there was a leaking of the proposed bill, it would seem it was not the most up to date version of the bill as it is being reported that parties who have seen it are noting that it is a little different to the earlier leaked version. With the bulk of the main differences seemingly resting on the reasons as to how court orders can be obtained. For instance, as well as foreign intelligence reasoning, other reasons which would be justifiable (under the bill) would be acts which could or did cause serious injury or death, as well as drug and child-related crimes. According to the details, much of the technology-based aspects of the bill seem to mostly remain the same with the primary focus being to ensure that tech companies "be capable of complying," with court orders that request access to or the handing over of "data in an intelligible format". Which to many, will be a clear emphasis on removing the ability of smartphones or other-related devices to make use of full unbreakable encryption - as the bill suggests that a way to access devices (or content in particular) must always remain possible.

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About the Author

John Anon

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]