Senator proposes bill to ban FBI "backdoors" on your devices

Senator proposes bill to ban FBI
There has been some tension recently between the FBI and software makers. Apple has made encryption the default on iOS, and Google has done the same with devices that ship with Android 5.0. Of course, encryption doesn't work so well with the FBI's interest in being able to access your data whenever it wants. But, at least one senator wants to proactively protect you from the FBI trying to build "backdoors" into your devices.

The trouble started when FBI head James Comey made a speech back in October about how device encryption threatened the FBI's ability to gather evidence, reasoning that "The more we as a society rely on these devices, the more important they are to law enforcement and public safety officials." He then suggested an update to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to allow for a "targeted exception" which would give the FBI access to data. However, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) wants to block that option before it gains steam with the Secure Data Act. 

The bill would make it illegal for any agency to force alterations to devices in order to make it easier to surveil or search.  Wyden said, "Strong encryption and sound computer security is the best way to keep Americans' data safe from hackers and foreign threats. It is the best way to protect our constitutional rights at a time when a person's whole life can often be found on his or her smartphone."

The FBI has contended that it is not looking for a "backdoor", but rather "a front door with a proper court order and the provider delivering the content to us." There will likely be a fairly long road before this gets sorted out, but right now, encrypting your device is still the best way to keep your data safe. 

source: Ron Wyden via The Verge



1. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

The senator dont want FBI go snooping on them. Might see his monkey budiness too.

2. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

That's great! Most of the crap these people bicker about usually does nothing or just limits people further, but finally something positive for people. This is something I could get used to.

3. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

When all phones etc are secure, its gonna be fun when people wonder why crime rate goes up.

4. Rydsmith unregistered

There has not been a single recorded instance in which the ability to get encrypted data has caused harm or damage.

6. DesertSage

Posts: 2; Member since: Oct 20, 2014

As Rydsmith said, there is no evidence that this idea has caused damage. Not to mention that some, such as myself, would value freedom and privacy over the microscopic chance that data the FBI gathered would stop a crime.

8. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

I have actually worked for a company that specialized in taking data from phones and tablets (used by police and military etc). And there are A LOT of cases that use the information to convict people, but sure, have your rapers, murderers, robbers etc roam free. As long as you feel secure no one will read your everyday messages that no one would be interested in.

9. Rydsmith unregistered

That's evidence after the fact, the same evidence that can be obtained via a search warrant. This is getting information without a warrant via a back door into the phone and almost Minority Report style of guilty until innocent. When pressed for at least one time that encryption on a phone has stopped a crime the FBI could not provide an example.

5. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

Stop NSA surveillance first.

7. d74925

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 15, 2014

I think they go hand in hand and should both be stopped now.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.