Senator proposes bill to ban FBI "backdoors" on 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.