Senate Dem vows to filibuster encryption bill

Senate Dem vows to filibuster encryption bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing Trump’s CIA pick facing brutal confirmation fight Trump struggles to get new IRS team in place MORE (D-Ore.) on Wednesday vowed to filibuster a Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill that would give law enforcement greater access to locked data.

“Americans who value their security and liberty must join together to oppose this dangerous proposal,” the tech-focused lawmaker said in a statement just after an official discussion draft of the bill was released.

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“I intend to oppose this bill in committee and if it reaches the Senate floor, I will filibuster it,” added Wyden, an Intelligence panel member.

The measure, from Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSenators, ask Dr. Ronny Jackson about civil legal aid for homeless vets Senators chart path forward on election security bill Overnight Cybersecurity: Staff changes upend White House cyber team | Trump sends cyber war strategy to Congress | CIA pick to get hearing in May | Malware hits Facebook accounts MORE (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTrump’s CIA pick facing brutal confirmation fight This week: Senate barrels toward showdown over Pompeo Sunday Shows Preview: Emmanuel Macron talks ahead of state dinner MORE (D-Calif.), would force companies to provide “technical assistance” to government investigators seeking secure data.

An initial discussion draft was first made public by The Hill last week.

The effort is a response to concerns that criminals are increasingly using encrypted technology to hide from authorities.

While law enforcement has long pressed Congress for legislation that would give investigators greater access to encrypted data, the tech community and privacy advocates warn that such access would undermine security and endanger online privacy.

Wyden’s remarks are not a surprise. The privacy advocate has previously said he would “use every power” to stop what he sees as an anti-encryption bill.

“This legislation would effectively prohibit Americans from protecting themselves as much as possible,” Wyden said Wednesday. “It would outlaw the strongest types of encryption and undermine the foundation of cybersecurity for millions of Americans.”

Giving the government guaranteed access to encrypted data “would leave Americans more vulnerable to stalkers, identity thieves, foreign hackers and criminals,” Wyden said.

And the Oregon Democrat doesn't believe the power would actually help law enforcement uncover more criminal plots.

“It will not make us safer from terrorists or other threats,” Wyden said.