White House won't support encryption unlocking legislation

The Obama administration will stay out of debate on proposed unlocking bill, a news report says

President Barack Obama's administration won't support legislation to force device makers to help law enforcement agencies defeat encryption, according to a news report.

Two senior members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have been floating draft legislation to require device makers and other tech companies to provide workarounds for encryption and other security features, but the White House won't offer public support for the proposal, according to a report from Reuters.

FBI Director James Comey has long pushed for encryption workarounds, and just last month, Obama called for tech companies and the government to work together to allow police access to suspects' smartphones protected by encryption.

But members of the Obama administration are divided on the encryption issue, and the White House has decided to largely stay on the sidelines when Senators Richard Burr, the Republican chairman, and Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, introduce their bill, according to the report.

The White House has reviewed the draft legislation and offered suggestions, but it plans to stay out of a public debate over the proposal, the report said.

The draft proposal from Burr and Feinstein would reportedly allow federal judges to order tech companies to assist law enforcement agencies with unlocking encrypted devices.

The encryption debate has been simmering since late 2014, when Comey began complaining that the FBI was "going dark" in terrorism and criminal investigation because of the growing use of encryption on smartphones.

The issue came to a head early this year when the FBI asked a California judge to order Apple to help the agency unlock an iPhone used by a mass shooter in San Bernardino, California, in December. Last month, the FBI withdrew the request when the agency said it found another way to unlock the phone.

Representatives of the White House and Department of Justice weren't immediately available for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?